Achievement

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Everyone who achieves strives for totality, and the value of his achievement lies in that totality—that is, in the fact that the whole, undivided nature of a human being should be expressed in his achievement. But when determined by our society, as we see it today, achievement does not express a totality; it is completely fragmented and derivative. ~ Walter Benjamin

An achievement is a successful performance or accomplishment.

Quotes[edit]

  • Everyone who achieves strives for totality, and the value of his achievement lies in that totality—that is, in the fact that the whole, undivided nature of a human being should be expressed in his achievement. But when determined by our society, as we see it today, achievement does not express a totality; it is completely fragmented and derivative. It is not uncommon for the community to be the site where a joint and covert struggle is waged against higher ambitions and more personal goals. ... A more profoundly organic individual development is obscured. The socially relevant achievement of the average person serves in the vast majority of cases to repress the original and nonderivative, inner aspirations of the human being.
    • Walter Benjamin, "The Life of Students" (1915), as translated by R. Livingstone, in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings – vol. 1: 1913-1926, ed. Michael William Jennings, Harvard University Press, 1996, pp. 39-40


  • Accomplishment is something you cannot buy. If you have a chance and don’t make the most of it, you are wasting your time on this earth. It is not what you do in baseball or sports, but how hard you try. Win or lose, I try my best.
    • Roberto Clemente, from his Tris Speaker Memorial Award acceptance speech, January 29, 1971, this is a lesser-known version of Clemente's familiar "wasting your time on this earth" warning (both of which were issued in this speech); as quoted in "800 Turn Out for Baseball Dinner" by Joe Heiling, in The Houston Post (January 30, 1971), p. 1-B, and in "Post Time: Clemente's Catch Proves Point" by Houston Post sports editor Clark Nealon, in The Houston Post (June 18, 1971), p. 5-D
To access the better-known version, see Cooperation.


  • Pythagoras urged upon the young men … to observe how absurd it would be to rate the reasoning power as the chief of their faculties, and indeed consult about all other things by its means, and yet bestow no time or labor on its exercise. Attention to the body might be compared to unworthy friends, and is liable to rapid failure; while erudition lasts till death, and for some procures post-mortem renown, and may be likened to good, reliable friends. Pythagoras continued to draw illustrations from history and philosophy, demonstrating that erudition enables a naturally excellent disposition to share in the achievements of the leaders of the race.


  • The divine in Jesus does not denote a violent rupture of the course of human history with the exclusion of all causal connection and all human personality, but it lies at the basis of all this history from beginning to end; it dwells in it as the divine Logos, as the rational aptitude of human nature, as impulse to the true and good, as God-consciousness. All progress in the development of mankind from the lowest grades upward, every achievement of culture which makes rude nature the servant of reason, every formation of higher ethical ideals, and every clarifying and deepening of the God-consciousness, is an effect and a revelation of the divine Logos dwelling in our race.


  • Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.

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