Quotes

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I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them.

Doctor Zhivago
We value virtue but do not discuss it. The honest bookkeeper, the faithful wife, the earnest scholar get little of our attention compared to the embezzler, the tramp, the cheat.

Travels with Charley: In Search of America
We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.

East of Eden
We seldom speak of the virtue which we have, but much oftener of that which we lack
All great virtues become great men
Man seems to be capable of great virtues but not of small virtues; capable of defying his torturer but not of keeping his temper
Virtue by premeditation isn't worth much
People praise virtue, but they hate it, they run away from it. It freezes you to death, and in this world you've got to keep your feet warm
Who sows virtue reaps honor
Too much virtue can be criminal
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays