Dignity

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Dignity is a term used in moral, ethical, and political discussions to signify that a being has an innate right to respect and ethical treatment. It is an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights.

Quotes[edit]

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
  • Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.
  • Remember this, — that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life.
  • By indignities men come to dignities.
  • Dignity is like air … When there’s enough of it, you don’t notice it... When there’s a lack of [it], you suffocate.
    When you’re full of dignity, you can focus on other things like your goals, your interests, anything. When you feel humiliated..., your brain focuses huge amounts of attention on your humiliation. You obsess on how people don’t appreciate your human value.
  • Washington absorbed, and later came to personify what you might call the dignity code. The code was based on the same premise as the nation's Constitution — that human beings are flawed creatures who live in constant peril of falling into disasters caused by their own passions. Artificial systems have to be created to balance and restrain their desires.
    The dignity code commanded its followers to be disinterested — to endeavor to put national interests above personal interests. It commanded its followers to be reticent — to never degrade intimate emotions by parading them in public. It also commanded its followers to be dispassionate — to distrust rashness, zealotry, fury and political enthusiasm.
  • Americans still admire dignity. But the word has become unmoored from any larger set of rules or ethical system.
    But it's not right to end on a note of cultural pessimism because there is the fact of President Obama. Whatever policy differences people may have with him, we can all agree that he exemplifies reticence, dispassion and the other traits associated with dignity. The cultural effects of his presidency are not yet clear, but they may surpass his policy impact. He may revitalize the concept of dignity for a new generation and embody a new set of rules for self-mastery.
  • It is terrifying to see how easily, in certain people, all dignity collapses. Yet when you think about it, this is quite normal since by constantly striving against their own nature.
  • Personal dignity is to be measured with the yardstick of one’s conscience, not with that of other people’s judgement.
    • Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Quotes we cherish. Quotations from Fausto Cercignani, 2014, p. 13.
  • The best therapy for the imaginary invalid is very simple, but rarely applied. The subject should be taken to a place where people must bear atrocious sufferings and the loss of all human dignity.
    • Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Writings by Fausto Cercignani, 2014, quote 46.
  • Where is there dignity unless there is also honesty?
  • I wish you all the pleasurable excitement one can have without hurting others and one's own dignity.
    • Norbert Elias in "Portret van een socioloog", VPRO (23 April 1975).
  • I believe in only one thing and that thing is human liberty. If ever a man is to achieve anything like dignity, it can happen only if superior men are given absolute freedom to think what they want to think and say what they want to say. I am against any man and any organization which seeks to limit or deny that freedom … the superior man can be sure of freedom only if it is given to all men.
    • H. L. Mencken, as quoted in Letters of H. L. Mencken (1961) edited by Guy J. Forgue, p. xiii.
  • Nonviolence is a constant awareness of the dignity and humanity of oneself and others. It seeks truth and justice. It renounces violence, both in method and in attitude. It is a courageous acceptance of active love and goodwill as the instruments with which to overcome evil and transform both oneself and others. It is the willingness to undergo suffering rather than inflict it. It excludes retaliation and flight.
    • Wallace Floyd Nelson, as quoted in Seeds of Peace : A Catalogue of Quotations‎ (1986) by Jeanne Larson and Madge Micheels-Cyrus, p. 169.
  • The demeaning of dignity is almost the only reason for a fight.
  • Nothing is more significant than dignity for adults and children. Everything is related to dignity. The important thing is that there is the highest price for each man and for all men together. This price is - the truth. Therefore all people crave it. People need others to appreciate them by the very highest dignity, by the truth. The genuine price of a man is the truth about him.
  • There is a boundary between good and evil. Good — is good, evil — is evil, and there is a line between them. It is called the truth. Everything that is higher than this line — is goodness, the extolling of human dignity. Everything that is lower — is evil, destroying human dignity, decreasing its price.
  • Man — is his dignity.
  • Let's remember our goal. It is not to reeducate the teacher; it is not to express fair anger, it is not "to show everyone that…" No! We need that the sense of dignity remains in our son or daughter — here is our goal!
  • Dissent... is a right essential to any concept of the dignity and freedom of the individual; it is essential to the search for truth in a world wherein no authority is infallible.
    • Norman Thomas, as quoted in The Quotable Rebel (2005) by Teishan Latner, p. 360.
  • Let us hold fast the great truth, that communities are responsible, as well as individuals; that no government is respectable which is not just. Without unspotted purity of public faith, without sacred public principle, fidelity, and honor, no machinery of laws, can give dignity to political society.
    • Daniel Webster, An Address Delivered at the Completion of the Bunker Hill Monument: June 17, 1843 (1843).

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 194.
  • Remember this,—that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life.
  • Otium cum dignitate.
    • Ease with dignity.
    • Cicero, Oratia Pro Publio Sextio, XLV.
  • The dignity of truth is lost
    With much protesting.
  • * * * With grave
    Aspect he rose, and in his rising seem'd
    A pillar of state; deep on his front engraven
    Deliberation sat, and public care;
    And princely counsel in his face yet shone
    Majestic, though in ruin: sage he stood,
    With Atlantéan shoulders, fit to bear
    The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look
    Drew audience and attention still as night
    Or summer's noontide air.
  • We have exchanged the Washingtonian dignity for the Jeffersonian simplicity, which was in truth only another name for the Jeffersonian vulgarity.
    • Bishop Henry C. Potter, Address at the Washington Centennial Service, New York (April 30, 1889).
  • Facilius crescit dignitas quam incipit.
    • Dignity increases more easily than it begins.
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, CI.
  • True dignity abides with him alone
    Who, in the silent hour of inward thought,
    Can still suspect, and still revere himself,
    In lowliness of heart.
    • William Wordsworth, lines left upon a seat in a Yew Tree; same idea in Beattie, Minstrel, II, Stanza 12.
  • Revere thyself, and yet thyself despise.

External links[edit]

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