An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.


Edward Abbey (1927-1989, American writer of environmental literature classics)


The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.


Lord Acton (1834-1902, British historian)


American society is a sort of flat, fresh-water pond which absorbs silently, without reaction, anything which is thrown into it.


Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918, American historian)


The happiness of society is the end of government.


John Adams (1735-1826, American President (2nd))


It is human nature that rules the world, not governments and regimes.


Svetlana Alliluyeva


Society lives by faith, and develops by science.


Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881, Swiss philosopher, poet, critic)


Nor was civil society founded merely to preserve the lives of its members; but that they might live well: for otherwise a state might be composed of slaves, or the animal creation... nor is it an alliance mutually to defend each other from injuries, or for a commercial intercourse. But whosoever endeavors to establish wholesome laws in a state, attends to the virtues and vices of each individual who composes it; from whence it is evident, that the first care of him who would found a city, truly deserving that name, and not nominally so, must be to have his citizens virtuous.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.


James Baldwin (1924-1987, American author)


Society is held together by our need; we bind it together with legend, myth, coercion, fearing that without it we will be hurled into that void, within which, like the earth before the Word was spoken, the foundations of society are hidden.


James Baldwin (1924-1987, American author)


Injustice is a sixth sense, and rouses all the others.


Amelia E. Barr (1831-1919, Anglo-American novelist)


An institution or reform movement that is not selfish, must originate in the recognition of some evil that is adding to the sum of human suffering, or diminishing the sum of happiness. I suppose it is a philanthropic movement to try to reverse the process.


Clara Barton (1821-1912, American humanitarian)


Society cares for the individual only so far as he is profitable.


Simone De Beauvoir (1908-1986, French novelist, essayist)


The true worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood.


Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955, American educator, consultant for the U.S. government)


It is well worth the efforts of a lifetime to have attained knowledge which justifies an attack on the root of all evil ... which asserts that because forms of evil have always existed in society, therefore they must always exist.


Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910, British-born American doctor)


I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself.


Emily Bronte (1818-1848, British novelist, poet)


Society is indeed a contract. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.


Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British political writer, statesman)


Are we aware of our obligations to a mob? It is the mob that labor in your fields and serve in your houses -- that man your navy, and recruit your army -- that have enabled you to defy the world, and can also defy you when neglect and calamity have driven them to despair. You may call the people a mob; but do not forget that a mob too often speaks the sentiments of the people.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


Society is now one polished horde, formed of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


We call it a Society; and go about professing openly the totalest separation, isolation. Our life is not a mutual helpfulness; but rather, cloaked under due laws-of-war, named "fair competition" and so forth, it is a mutual hostility.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


If we would please in society, we must be prepared to be taught many :pings we know already by people who do not know them.


Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French writer, journalist, playwright)


Society is composed of two great classes, those that have more dinners than appetite, and those who have more appetite than dinners.


Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French writer, journalist, playwright)


Society is divided into two classes, the shearers and the shorn.


Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French writer, journalist, playwright)


Most Americans have never seen the ignorance, degradation, hunger, sickness, and the futility in which many other Americans live.... They won't become involved in economic or political change until someone brings the seriousness of the situation home to them.


Shirley Chisholm (1924-, American social activist)


We can imagine a society in which no one could survive as a social being because it does not correspond to biologically determined perceptions and human social needs. For historical reasons, existing societies might have such properties, leading to various forms of pathology.


Noam Chomsky (1928-, American linguist, political activist)


Nearly all societies have the instinct is to lock up anybody who is truly free. First, society begins by trying to beat you up. If this fails, they try to poison you. If this fails too, they finish by loading honors on your head.


Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British statesman, Prime Minister)


The circumstances of human society are too complicated to be submitted to the rigor of mathematical calculation.


Marquis De Custine (1790-1857, French traveler, author)


You can tell all you need to about a society from how it treats animals and beaches.


Frank DeFord (1938-, American sportswriter)


Man's characteristic privilege is that the bond he accepts is not physical but moral; that is, social. He is governed not by a material environment brutally imposed on him, but by a conscience superior to his own, the superiority of which he feels. Because the greater, better part of his existence transcends the body, he escapes the body's yoke, but is subject to that of society.


Emile Durkheim (1858-1917, French sociologist)


To be social is to be forgiving.


Robert Frost (1875-1963, American poet)


No man can have society upon his own terms.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Society always consists in the greatest part, of young and foolish persons.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Society is a hospital of incurables.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Society is a masked ball, where every one hides his real character, and reveals it by hiding.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. Society acquires new arts, and loses old instincts.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggression.


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939, Austrian physician, founder of Psychoanalysis)


It is of the essence of imaginative culture that it transcends the limits both of the naturally possible and of the morally acceptable.


Northrop Frye (1912-1991, Canadian literary critic)


Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.


Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948, Indian political, spiritual leader)


Compare society to a boat. Her progress through the water will not depend upon the exertion of her crew, but upon the exertion devoted to propelling her. This will be lessened by any expenditure of force in fighting among themselves, or in pulling in different directions.


Henry George (1839-1897, American social reformer, economist)


If everybody is rewarded just for being alive, you get the same sort of effect as you do when you reward every student just for being enrolled. You destroy not only education, you destroy society by giving A's to everyone. This is a philosophical consideration that bothers me very much as I sit in the United States Senate and see the great budget allocations going through.


S. I. Hayakawa (1902-1992, Canadian born American senator, educator)


Social improvement is attained more readily by a concern with the quality of results than with the purity of motives.


Eric Hoffer (1902-1983, American author, philosopher)


Society is always trying in some way to grind us down to a single flat surface.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


Are there not thousands in the world who love their fellows even to the death, who feel the giant agony of the world, and more, like slaves to poor humanity, labor for mortal good?


John Keats (1795-1821, British poet)


Society is a republic. When an individual tries to lift themselves above others, they are dragged down by the mass, either by ridicule or slander.


Victor Hugo (1802-1885, French poet, dramatist, novelist)


The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom -- these are the pillars of society.


Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906, Norwegian dramatist)


Whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next.


Dean William R. Inge (1860-1954, Dean of St. Paul's, London)


No society has been able to abolish human sadness, no political system can deliver us from the pain of living, from our fear of death, or our thirst for the absolute. It is the human condition that directs the social condition, not vice versa.


Eugene Ionesco (1912-1994, Romanian-born French playwright)


The great society is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goods than with the quantity of their goods.


Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973, American President (36th))


People who have a stake in their society protect that society -- but when they don't have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.


Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968, American Civil Rights leader, Nobel Prize winner, 1964)


What can you say about a society that says God is dead and Elvis is alive?


Irv Kupcinet


Society can exist only on the basis that there is some amount of polished lying and that no one says exactly as he thinks.


Yutang, Lin (1895-1976, Chinese writer and philologist)


The principles of the good society call for a concern with an order of being -- which cannot be proved existentially to the sense organs -- where it matters supremely that the human person is inviolable, that reason shall regulate the will, that truth shall prevail over error.


Walter Lippmann (1889-1974, American journalist)


Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this: That you are dreadfully like other people.


James Russell Lowell (1819-1891, American poet, critic, editor)


Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this: That you are dreadfully like other people.


James Russell Lowell (1819-1891, American poet, critic, editor)


A system in which the two great commandments are to hate your neighbor and to love your neighbor's wife.


Thomas B. Macaulay (1800-1859, American essayist and historian)


As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.


James Madison (1751-1836, American statesman, president)


Society does not consist of individuals but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand.


Karl Marx (1818-1883, German political theorist, social philosopher)


Societies need rules that make no sense for individuals. For example, it makes no difference whether a single car drives on the left or on the right. But it makes all the difference when there are many cars!


Marvin Minsky


Society may predict, but only I can determine my destiny.


Clair Oliver


To me, we must learn to spell the word RESPECT. We must respect the rights and properties of our fellowman. And then learn to play the game of life, as well as the game of athletics, according to the rules of society. If you can take that and put it into practice in the community in which you live, then, to me you have won the greatest championship.


Jesse Owens (1913-1980, American Olympian)


If a rich man eats a snake, people call it wisdom; if a poor man does the same thing, people call it derangement.


Lebanese Proverb (Sayings of Lebanese origin)


Approximately 80 % of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation, so let's not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources.


Ronald Reagan (1911-2004, American President (40th))


Any relations in a social order will endure, if there is infused into them some of that spirit of human sympathy which qualifies life for immortality.


George W. Russell (1867-1935, Irish poet, essayist, artist)


Society is like the air, necessary to breathe but insufficient to live on.


George Santayana (1863-1952, American philosopher, poet)


By vulgarity I mean that vice of civilization which makes man ashamed of himself and his next of kin, and pretend to be somebody else.


Solomon Schechter


What is called good society is usually nothing but a mosaic of polished caricatures.


Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829, German philosopher, critic, writer)


Society is like a schoolmaster who estimates boys according to their conformity to a standard that is easiest for running a school.


Henry Sedgwick


Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless.


B(urrhus) F(rederic) Skinner (1904-1990, American psychologist)


The greatest difficulty with the world is not its ability to produce, but the unwillingness to share.


Roy L. Smith (American clergyman)


Our society is not a community, but merely a collection of isolated family units.


Valerie Solanis


One set of messages of the society we live in is: Consume. Grow. Do what you want. Amuse yourselves. The very working of this economic system, which has bestowed these unprecedented liberties, most cherished in the form of physical mobility and material prosperity, depends on encouraging people to defy limits.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.


Adlai E. Stevenson (1900-1965, American lawyer, politician)


Make the world better.


Lucy Stone


Society in shipwreck is comfort to all.


Publilius Syrus (85 BC- 43BC, Roman writer)


No civilized society can thrive upon victims, whose humanity has been permanently mutilated.


Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941, Indian poet, philosopher)


There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families.


Margaret Thatcher (1925-, British Prime Minister (1979-90))


Sobriety, severity, and self-respect are the foundations of all true sociality.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


A civilized society that can no longer feel outrage, can no longer be civilized.


Author Unknown


You can tell how high a society is by how much of its garbage is recycled.


Author Unknown


Never speak disrespectfully of Society. Only people who can't get into it do that.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Societies that do not eat people are fascinated by those that do.


Ronald Wright


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