Individualism Quotes


I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.

Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν
Hell    Individualism    Irony    Selfishness    Tea

I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It's so fuckin' heroic.

The first duty of a man is to think for himself

It's weird not to be weird.

You show me a capitalist, and I'll show you a bloodsucker

I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way.

Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.

The Revolution introduced me to art, and in turn, art introduced me to the Revolution!

I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I'm beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn't pleasant, it's not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.

Demian

Hermann Hesse

Demian

The only way we'll get freedom for ourselves is to identify ourselves with every oppressed people in the world. We are blood brothers to the people of Brazil, Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba -- yes Cuba too.

Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.

Everything is relative in this world, where change alone endures.

Despair is typical of those who do not understand the causes of evil, see no way out, and are incapable of struggle.

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.

Who would you be but who you are?

I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement [Libertarians] in the US that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.

To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.

An Inland Voyage

Robert Louis Stevenson Lloyd Osbourne

An Inland Voyage

Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.

Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.

Self-Reliance

Ralph Waldo Emerson

كل إمرىء يحيا حياتهُ وعليه أن يجد طريقهُ بين متشعب المسالك, وهو مسؤول عن كل عملٍ يأتيه ويتحمل نتاجه, إن فائدة وإن أذى. فالفتاة التي اعتادت الإنقياد لآراء والديها وعجزت عن إتيان عمل فردي تدفعها إليه إرادتها بالإشتراك مع ضميرها, ما هي إلا عبدة قد تصير في المستقبل "والدة" ولكنها لا تصير "أماً" وإن دعاها أبنائها بهذا الإسم. لأن في الأمومة معنى رفيعاً يسمو بالمرأة إلى الإشراف على النفوس والأفكار والعبدة لا تربي إلا عبيداً. ولا خير في رجالٍ ليس لهم من الرجولة غير ما يدعون, إن هم سادوا فعلوا بالقوة الوحشية وهي مظهر من مظاهر العبودية. أولئك سوف يكونون أبداً أسرى الأهواء وعبيد الصغائر الهابطة بهم إلى حيث لا يعلمون, إلى الفناء المعنوي, إلى الموت في الحياة.

God will not have his work made manifest by cowards

Self-Reliance

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I would rather have strong enemies than a world of passive individualists. In a world of passive individualists nothing seems worth anything simply because nobody stands for anything. That world has no convictions, no victories, no unions, no heroism, no absolutes, no heartbeat. That world has rigor mortis.

All rational action is in the first place individual action. Only the individual thinks. Only the individual reasons. Only the individual acts.

The current ruling ontology denies any possibility of a social causation of mental illness. The chemico-biologization of mental illness is of course strictly commensurate with its depoliticization. Considering mental illness an individual chemico-biological problem has enormous benefits for capitalism. First, it reinforces Capital’s drive towards atomistic individualization (you are sick because of your brain chemistry). Second, it provides an enormously lucrative market in which multinational pharmaceutical companies can peddle their pharmaceuticals (we can cure you with our SSRls). It goes without saying that all mental illnesses are neurologically instantiated, but this says nothing about their causation. If it is true, for instance, that depression is constituted by low serotonin levels, what still needs to be explained is why particular individuals have low levels of serotonin. This requires a social and political explanation; and the task of repoliticizing mental illness is an urgent one if the left wants to challenge capitalist realism.

A child who does not think about what happens around him and is content with living without wondering whether he lives honestly is like a man who lives from a scoundrel's work and is on the road to being a scoundrel.

When the
Washington Post
telephoned me at home on Valentine's Day 1989 to ask my opinion about the Ayatollah Khomeini's
fatwah
, I felt at once that here was something that completely committed me. It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. Plus, of course, friendship—though I like to think that my reaction would have been the same if I hadn't known Salman at all. To re-state the premise of the argument again: the theocratic head of a foreign despotism offers money in his own name in order to suborn the murder of a civilian citizen of another country, for the offense of writing a work of fiction. No more root-and-branch challenge to the values of the Enlightenment (on the bicentennial of the fall of the Bastille) or to the First Amendment to the Constitution, could be imagined. President George H.W. Bush, when asked to comment, could only say grudgingly that, as far as he could see, no American interests were involved…

She smiled. She knew she was dying. But it did not matter any longer. She had known something which no human words could ever tell and she knew it now. She had been awaiting it and she felt it, as if it had been, as if she had lived it. Life had been, if only because she had known it could be, and she felt it now as a hymn without sound, deep under the little whole that dripped red drops into the snow, deeper than that from which the red drops came. A moment or an eternity- did it matter? Life, undefeated, existed and could exist. She smiled, her last smile, to so much that had been possible.

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual you have an obligation to be one.

Most people are not even aware of their need to conform. They live under the illusion that they follow their own ideas and inclinations, that they are individualists, that they have arrived at their opinions as the result of their own thinking—and that it just happens that their ideas are the same as those of the majority.

perhaps, if one wishes to remain an individual in the midst of the teeming multitudes, one must make oneself grotesque.

Midnight's Children

Salman Rushdie

Midnight's Children

But love, like the sun that it is, sets afire and melts everything. what greed and privilege to build up over whole centuries the indignation of a pious spirit, with its natural following of oppressed souls, will cast down with a single shove.

Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore it if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.

There is no need for us all to be alike and think the same way, neither do we need a common enemy to force us to come together and reach out to each other. If we allow ourselves and everyone else the freedom to fully individuate as spiritual beings in human form, there will be no need for us to be forced by worldly circumstances to take hands and stand together. Our souls will automatically want to flock together, like moths to the flame of our shared Divinity, yet each with wings covered in the glimmering colors and unique patterns of our individual human expression.

And yet we have what purports, or professes, or is claimed, to be a contract—the Constitution—made eighty years ago, by men who are now all dead, and who never had any power to bind us, but which (it is claimed) has nevertheless bound three generations of men, consisting of many millions, and which (it is claimed) will be binding upon all the millions that are to come; but which nobody ever signed, sealed, delivered, witnessed, or acknowledged; and which few persons, compared with the whole number that are claimed to be bound by it, have ever read, or even seen, or ever will read, or see.

Unity is a great thing and a great slogan. But what the workers’ cause needs is the unity of Marxists, not unity between Marxists, and opponents and distorters of Marxism.

I knew I was alone in a way that no earthling has ever been before.

Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean,
man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives.
Man's life is independent.
He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self too.

If you want to be a slave in life, then continue going around asking others to do for you. They will oblige, but you will find the price is your choices, your freedom, your life itself. They will do for you, and as a result you will be in bondage to them forever, having given your identity away for a paltry price. Then, and only then, you will be a nobody, a slave, because you yourself and nobody else made it so.

It is important for this country to make its people so obsessed with their own liberal individualism that they do not have time to think about a world larger than self.

Here beyond men's judgments all covenants were brittle.

Snowflakes fascinate me... Millions of them falling gently to the ground... And they say that no two of them are alike! Each one completely different from all the others... The last of the rugged individualists!

Don't worry. They're all against me. But I have one advantage: they don't know what they want. I do.

Your corn is ripe today; mine will be so tomorrow. 'Tis profitable for us both, that I should labour with you today, and that you should aid me tomorrow. I have no kindness for you, and know you have as little for me. I will not, therefore, take any pains upon your account; and should I labour with you upon my own account, in expectation of a return, I know I should be disappointed, and that I should in vain depend upon your gratitude. Here then I leave you to labour alone; You treat me in the same manner. The seasons change; and both of us lose our harvests for want of mutual confidence and security.

One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native home of hope. When it fully learns that cooperation, not rugged individualism, is the quality that most characterizes and preserves it, then it will have achieved itself and outlived its origins. Then it has a chance to create a society to match its scenery.

The number of those who undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed.

Only the self-sufficient stand alone - most people follow the crowd and imitate.

You're in a horse race but you're thinking like a sheep. Sheep don't win horse races.

The Glass Castle

Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle

Our culture places a very high premium on self-expression, but is relatively disinterested in producing "selves" that are worth expressing.

Culture    Individualism    Life    P37

I didn't want to be in the teeming mass of the working class.... I didn't want to live and die in the same place with only a week at the seaside in between. I dreamed of escape -- but what is terrible about industrialisation is that it makes escape necessary. In a system that generates masses, individualism is the only way out. But then what happens to community -- to society?

And even when they refuse to listen, I'll keep talking anyway, hoping on a slim chance that the things inside my head are worth something to someone.

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