Anatole France: Why are men cruel?

It is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel. -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924).

Francis Bacon: Root of all superstition

The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses. –Francis Bacon, essayist, philosopher, and statesman (1561-1626).

William Hazlitt: Fear of death

Self-portrait by William Hazlitt

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Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life has a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when you were not: that gives us no concern. Why then should it trouble us that a time will come when we shall cease to be? To die is only to be as we were before we were born. –William Hazlitt, essayist (1778-1830)

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr: Superstition

We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of the superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them. -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr, poet, novelist, essayist, and physician (1809-1894)

Daguerreotype of Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., 1841

Daguerreotype of Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., 1841 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michel de Montaigne: Own legs, own bottom

Michel de Montaigne.

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No matter that we may mount on stilts, we still must walk on our own legs. And on the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom. –Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)

Michel de Montaigne: Differences

Michel de Montaigne.

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There is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us and others. –Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)

Jose Ortega Y Gasset: Me and my surroundings

Ortega y Gasset en un fotografía tomada por la...

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I am I plus my surroundings and if I do not preserve the latter, I do not preserve myself. –Jose Ortega Y Gasset, philosopher and essayist (1883-1955)

Frederick Saunders: Pride

Pride, like laudanum and other poisonous medicines, is beneficial in small, though injurious in large, quantities. No man who is not pleased with himself, even in a personal sense, can please others. -Frederick Saunders, librarian and essayist (1807-1902)

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr: Wind and water power

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894), American ph...

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Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same machinery of sensibility; one is wind-power, and the other water-power. –Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., poet, novelist, essayist, and physician (1809-1894)

Michel de Montaigne: Truth

Michel de Montaigne

I speak the truth not so much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little more as I grow older. –Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)

Michel de Montaigne.

Michel de Montaigne. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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