Degraded Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 219 quotes )
All authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and degrades those over whom it is exercised. When it is violently, grossly, and cruelly used, it produces a good effect by creating, or at any rate bringing out, the spirit of revolt and individualism that is to kill it. When it is used with a certain amount of kindness, and accompanied by prizes and rewards, it is dreadfully demoralising. People, in that case, are less conscious of the horrible pressure that is being put on them, and so go through their lives in a sort of coarse comfort, like petted animals, without ever realising that they are probably thinking other people's thoughts, living by other people's standards, wearing practically what one may call other people's second-hand clothes, and never being themselves for a single moment.
So much had been surrendered! And to such little purpose! There had been mad wilful rejections, monstrous forms of self-torture and self-denial, whose origin was fear and whose result was a degradation infinitely more terrible than that fancied degradation from which, in their ignorance, they had sought to escape (...)
The man who attempts to live for others is a dependent. He is a parasite in motive and makes parasites of those he serves. The relationship produces nothing but mutual corruption. It is impossible in concept. The nearest approach to it in reality -- the man who lives to serve others -- is the slave. If physical slavery is repulsive, how much more repulsive is the concept of servility of the spirit. The conquered slave has a vestige of honor. He has the merit of having resisted and of considering his condition evil. But the man who enslaves himself voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades the dignity of man, and he degrades the conception of love. But that is the essence of altruism
When all are undressed, one is somehow not ashamed, but when one's the only one undressed and everybody is looking, it's degrading,' he kept repeating to himself, again and again. 'It's like a dream, I've sometimes dreamed of being in such degrading positions.' It was a misery to him to take off his socks. They were very dirty, and so were his underclothes, and now everyone could see it. And what was worse, he disliked his feet. All his life he had thought both his big toes hideous. He particularly loathed the coarse, flat, crooked nail on the right one, and now they would all see it. Feeling intolerably ashamed made him, at once and intentionally, rougher. He pulled off his shirt, himself.
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things, the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice,? is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
You teach me now how cruel you've been - cruel and false. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they'll blight you - they'll damn you. You loved me - what right had you to leave me? What right - answer me - for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will did it. I have not broken your heart - you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.
Both capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures, and they declared that these, once established, would function by themselves; they declared that not only would they have no need of any prior individual morality, but that they would promote a communal morality. And this ideological promise has been proved false. The facts have clearly demonstrated it. The Marxist system, where it found its way into government, not only left a sad heritage of economic and ecological destruction, but also a painful oppression of souls. And we can also see the same thing happening in the West, where the distance between rich and poor is growing constantly, and giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness.
I find something repulsive about the idea of vicarious redemption. I would not throw my numberless sins onto a scapegoat and expect them to pass from me; we rightly sneer at the barbaric societies that practice this unpleasantness in its literal form. There's no moral value in the vicarious gesture anyway. As Thomas Paine pointed out, you may if you wish take on a another man's debt, or even to take his place in prison. That would be self-sacrificing. But you may not assume his actual crimes as if they were your own; for one thing you did not commit them and might have died rather than do so; for another this impossible action would rob him of individual responsibility. So the whole apparatus of absolution and forgiveness strikes me as positively immoral, while the concept of revealed truth degrades the concept of free intelligence by purportedly relieving us of the hard task of working out the ethical principles for ourselves.
The public make use of the classics of a country as a means of checking the progress of Art. They degrade the classics into authorities.... A fresh mode of Beauty is absolutely distasteful to them, and whenever it appears they get so angry and bewildered that they always use two stupid expressions--one is that the work of art is grossly unintelligible; the other, that the work of art is grossly immoral. What they mean by these words seems to me to be this. When they say a work is grossly unintelligible, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is new; when they describe a work as grossly immoral, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is true.
When we hit a nail with a hammer the whole of the shock received by the large head of the nail passes into a point without any of it being lost, although it is only a point. If the hammer and head of the nail were infinitely big, if would be just the same; the point of the nail would transmit this infinite shock at the point to which it was applied. Extreme affliction, which means physical pain, distress of the soul, and social degradation all at the same time, is a nail whose point is applied at the very center of the soul, whose head is all necessity, spreading throughout space and time
Kraft was a skinny, harmless kid from Pennsylvania who wanted only to be liked, and was destined to be disappointed in even so humble and degrading an ambition. Instead, of being liked, he was dead, a bleeding cinder on the barbarous pile whom nobody had heard in those last precious moments while the plane with one wing plummeted.
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
I suppose it was the end of the world for her when her husband and her baby were killed. I suppose she didn't care what became of her and flung herself into the horrible degradation of drink and promiscuous copulation to get even with life that had treated her so cruelly. She'd lived in heaven and when she lost it she couldn't put up with the common earth of common men, but in despair plunged headlong into hell. I can imagine that if she couldn't drink the nectar of the gods any more she thought she might as well drink bathroom gin.'That's the sort of thing you say in novels. It's nonsense and you know it's nonsense. Sophie wallows in the gutter because she likes it. Other women have lost their husbands and children. It wasn't that that made her evil. Evil doesn't spring from good. The evil was there always. When that motor accident broke her defences it set her free to be herself. Don't waste your pity on her, she's now what at heart she always was.
Was I gleeful, settled, content, during the hours I passed in yonder bare, humble schoolroom this morning and afternoon? Not to decieve myself, I must reply -- No: I felt desolate to a degree. I felt -- yes, idiot that I am -- I felt degraded. I doubted I had taken a step which sank instead of raising me in the scale of social existence. I was weakly dismayed at the ignorance, the poverty, the coarseness of all I heard and saw around me. But let me not hate and despise myself too much for these feelings; I know them to be wrong -- that is a great step gained. I shall strive to overcome them.
But no one could say he hadn't gotten even. He could not count the field women whom he had sexually degraded and demoralized and in whom he had left his seed so their bastard children would be a daily visual reminder of what a plantation white man could do to a plantation black woman whenever he wanted, nor could he count the black men whom he had made fear his blackjack as they would fear Satan himself, making each of them a lifetime enemy of all white people.
From the standpoint of the upper classes, the system had many merits. They felt that what was paid out of the poor rate was charity, and therefore a proof of their benevolence; at the same time, wages were kept at starvation level by a method which just prevented discontent from developing into revolution...It was plainly the certainty, derived from the old Poor Law, that actual death would be averted by the parish authorities, which induced the rural poor of England to endure their misery patiently...it taught them respect for their 'betters'.While leaving all the wealth that they produced, beyond the absolute minimum required for subsistence, in the hands of the landowners and farmers. It was at this period that landowners built the sham Gothic ruins called 'follies', where they indulged in romantic sensibility about the past while they filled the present with misery and degradation.
Oh! why was I born with a different face? why was I not born like the rest of my race? when I look, each one starts! when I speak, I offend; then Im silent & passive & lose every friend. Then my verse I dishonour, my pictures despise, my person degrade & my temper chastise; and the pen is my terror, the pencil my shame; all my talents I bury, and dead is my fame. Im either too low or too highly prized; when elate I m envy'd, when meek Im despis'd