Propensity Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 51 quotes )
The propensity to excessive simplification is indeed natural to the mind of man, since it is only by abstraction and generalisation, which necessarily imply the neglect of a multitude of particulars, that he can stretch his puny faculties so as to embrace a minute portion of the illimitable vastness of the universe. But if the propensity is natural and even inevitable, it is nevertheless fraught with peril, since it is apt to narrow and falsify our conception of any subject under investigation. To correct it partially - for to correct it wholly would require an infinite intelligence - we must endeavour to broaden our views by taking account of a wide range of facts and possibilities; and when we have done so to the utmost of our power, we must still remember that from the very nature of things our ideas fall immeasurably short of the reality.
If there were no internal propensity to unite, even at a prodigiously rudimentary level? indeed in the molecule itself? it would be physically impossible for love to appear higher up, with us, in hominized form. . . . Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being.
The major characteristics discoverable by the stranger in Mr F.'s Aunt, were extreme severity and grim taciturnity; sometimes interrupted by a propensity to offer remarks in a deep warning voice, which, being totally uncalled for by anything said by anybody, and traceable to no association of ideas, confounded and terrified the Mind.
we, with our propensity for murder, torture, slavery, rape, cannibalism, pillage, advertising jingles, shag carpets, and golf, how could we be seriously considered as the perfection of a four-billion-year-old grandiose experiment? perhaps as a race, we have evolved as far as we are capable, yet that by no means suggests that evolution has called it quits. in all likelihood, it has something beyond human on the drawing board. we tend to refer to our most barbaric and crapulous behavior as "inhuman," whereas, in point of fact, it is exactly human, definitively and quintessentially human, since no other creature habitually indulges in comparable atrocities. this negates neither our occasional virtues nor our aesthetic triumphs, but if a being at least a little bit more than human is not waiting around the bend of time then evolution has suffered a premature ejaculation.
We are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, and no amount of education gleaned from our propensity for self-destruction and misguided thinking ever teaches us anything. Not anything that we remember for more than a generation or two. I think maybe we learn a few things each time that we don't forget. A few things that stick with us. It's just hard to pass those things on to those who come after us because if they didn't live through it, they don't view it the same way we do. If you don't experience something firsthand, it's a lot harder to accept. Terry Brooks, Bearers of the Black Staff, p 89
The prison population consists of heterogeneous elements; but, taking only those who are usually described as 'the criminals' proper, and of whom we have heard so much lately from Lombroso and his followers, what struck me most as regards them was that the prisons, which are considered as preventive of anti-social deeds, are exactly the institutions for breeding them. Every one knows that absence of education, dislike of regular work, physical incapability of sustained effort, misdirected love of adventure, gambling propensities, absence of energy, an untrained will, and carelessness about the happiness of others are the causes which bring this class of people before the courts. Now I was deeply impressed during my imprisonment by the fact that it is exactly these defects of human nature--each one of them--which the prison breeds in its inmates; and it is bound to breed them because it is a prison, and will breed them so long as it exists.
He had a tremendous propensity for getting lost when driving. This was largely because of his method of “Zen” navigation, which was simply to find any car that looked as if it knew where it was going and follow it. The results were more often surprising than successful, but he felt it was worth it for the sake of the few occasions when it was both.
The world had made him extravagant and vain - Extravagance and vanity had made him cold-hearted and selfish. Vanity, while seeking its own guilty triumph at the expense of another, had involved him in a real attachment, which extravagance, or at least its offspring, necessity, had required to be sacrificed. Each faulty propensity in leading him to evil, had led him likewise to punishment.
A state of scepticism and suspense may amuse a few inquisitive minds. But the practice of superstition is so congenial to the multitude, that if they are forcibly awakened, they still regret the loss of their pleasing vision. Their love of the marvellous and supernatural, their curiosity with regard to future events, and their strong propensity to extend their hopes and fears beyond the limits of the visible world, were the principal causes which favoroud the establishment of Polytheism. So urgent on the vulgar is the necessity of believing, that the fall of any system of mythology will most probably be succeeded by the introduction of some other mode of superstition. (...) an object much less deserving would have been sufficient to fill the vacant place in their hearts.
They were not bound to regard with affection a thing that could not sympathise with one amongst them; a heterogeneous thing, opposed to them in temperament, in capacity, in propensities; a useless thing, incapable of serving their interest, or adding to their pleasure; a noxious thing, cherishing the germs of indignation at their treatment, of contempt of their judgment. I know that had I been a sanguine, brilliant, careless, exacting, handsome, romping child—though equally dependent and friendless—Mrs. Reed would have endured my presence more complacently; her children would have entertained...
She had in truth no abstract propensity to malice: she did not dislike Lily because the latter was brilliant and predominant, but because she thought that Lily disliked her. It is less mortifying to believe one's self unpopular than insignificant, and vanity prefers to assume that indifference is a latent form of unfriendliness.
The significance of that 'absolute commandment', know thyself? whether we look at it in itself or under the historical circumstances of its first utterance? is not to promote mere self-knowledge in respect of the particular capacities, character, propensities, and foibles of the single self. The knowledge it commands means that of man's genuine reality? of what is essentially and ultimately true and real? of spirit as the true and essential bein
It seems priggish or pollyannaish to deny that my intention in writing the work was to titillate the nastier propensities of my readers. My own healthy inheritance of original sin comes out in the book and I enjoyed raping and ripping by proxy. It is the novelist’s innate cowardice that makes him depute to imaginary personalities the sins that he is too cautious to commit for himself.
Hackberry Holland's greatest fear was his fellow man's propensity to act collectively, in militaristic lockstep, under the banner of God and country. Mobs did not rush across town to do good deeds, and in Hackberry's view, there was no more odious taint on any social or political endeavor than universal approval.
Dorothy viewed my mother's propensity toward madness not as something to be afraid of, but rather as something to look forward to, like a movie or a newly released color of nail polish.'Your mother is just expressing herself,' Dorothy would tell me when my mother stopped sleeping, started smoking the filters of her cigarettes and began writing backward with a glitter pen. No, she's not,' I would say. 'She's going insane again.' Don't be so mundane,' she would yawn, passing my mother a shoebox filled with cat vertebrae. 'She is a brilliant artist. If you want Hamburger Helper, go find some other mother.
The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. ... The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.