A woman who sells herself to buy bread for her aged mother or her child, stands upon a higher moral plane than the blushing maiden who marries a money bag, in order to gratify her frivolous appetite for parties and travel. Of two men, he is the less deceived, the more logical and rational, who pays his companion of an hour in cash, each time, than he who gets a companion for life by the marriage contract, whose society was purchased as much as in the former case. Every alliance between man and woman in which either one is influenced by the substantial or selfish advantage to be gained by it, is prostitution.
__Max Nordau, Conventional Lies of Our Civilization
Today's world is one in which the age-old risks of humankind - the drought, floods, communicable diseases - are less of a problem than ever before. They have been replaced by risks of humanity's own making - the unintended side-effects of beneficial technologies and the intended effects of the technologies of war. Society must hope that the world's ability to assess and manage risks will keep pace with its ability to create them.
__J. Clarence Davies, Conservation Foundation, State of the Environment: An Assessment at Mid-Decade, 1984
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. Dead Poet's Society
At the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal force in the heart of man: one very reasonably tells the man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of avoiding it; the other even more reasonable says that it is too painful and harassing to think of the danger, since it is not a man's power to provide for everything and escape from the general march of events'; and that it is therefore better to turn aside from the painful subject till it has come, and to think of what is pleasant. in solitude a man generally yields to the first voice; in society to the second.
__Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace
'Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakenly meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart.
__Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude, 1870
America is just the country that shows how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. There the politician has come to be looked upon as the very scum of society.