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Choice consists of the mental process of judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one of them. While a choice can be made between imagined options ("what would I do if ...?"), often a choice is made between real options, and followed by the corresponding action.


  • He that will not when he may,
    When he will he shall have nay.
    • Robert Burton, Anatomy of a Melancholy (1621), Part III. Sect. 2. Mem. 5. Subs. 5. Quoted.
  • Better to sink beneath the shock
    Than moulder piecemeal on the rock!
  • He is no wise man that will quit a certainty for an uncertainty.
  • Imagine a captain of a ship the moment a shift of direction must be made; then he may be able to say: I can do either this or that. But if he is not a mediocre captain he will also be aware that during all this the ship is ploughing ahead with its ordinary velocity, and thus there is but a single moment when it is inconsequential whether he does this or does that. So also with a person-if he forgets to take into account the velocity-there eventually comes a moment where it is no longer a matter of an Either/Or, not because he has chosen, but because he has refrained from it, which also can be expressed by saying: Because others have chosen for him-or because he has lost himself.
  • Every person, if he so wills, can become a paradigmatic human being, not by brushing of his accidental qualities, but by remaining in them and ennobling them. He ennobles them by choosing them.
    • Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or II, Hong p. 262.
  • Who would not, finding way, break loose from hell,
    * * * * * *
    And boldly venture to whatever place
    Farthest from pain?
  • He is no wise man that will quit a certainty for an uncertainty.
    • Samuel Johnson, The Idler, No. 57. in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 93-96.
  • Which of them shall I take?
    Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd,
    If both remain alive.
  • I will not choose what many men desire,
    Because I will not jump with common spirits,
    And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
  • A strange alternative * * *
    Must women have a doctor or a dance?

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 113-114.
  • If I were not Alexander, I should wish to be Diogenes.
  • Of harmes two the less is for to chose.
  • What voice did on my spirit fall,
    Peschiera, when thy bridge I crost?
    'Tis better to have fought and lost
    Than never to have fought at all!
  • Life often presents us with a choice of evils, rather than of goods.
  • Devine, si tu peux, et choisis, si tu l'oses.
    • Guess, if you can, and choose, if you dare.
    • Pierre Corneille, Héraclius, IV. 4.
  • The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.
    • George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (1876), Book VI, Chapter XLII.
  • God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.
  • Betwixt the devil and the deep sea.
    • Erasmus, Adagia, Chapter III. Cent, IV. 94. Quoted from the Greek. Proverb in Hazlitt, English Proverbs. Clarke, Parœmiologia (1639). Said by Col. Monroe, Expedition and Observations, Part III, p. 55. (Ed. 1637).
  • Inter sacrum et sazim.
    • Between the victim and the stone knife.
    • Erasmus, letter to Pirkheimer. Plautus, Captivi, 3. 4. 84. Also said by Appuleius.
  • Se soumettre ou se démettre.
  • Where passion leads or prudence points the way.
  • But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.
    • Luke. X. 42.
  • For many are called, but few are chosen.
    • Matthew, XXII. 14.
  • The difficulty in life is the choice.
  • Or fight or fly,
    This choice is left ye, to resist or die.
  • S'asseoir entre deux selles le cul a terre.
    • Between two stools one sits on the ground.
    • François Rabelais, Gargantua, Book I, Chapter II. Entre deux arcouns chet cul a terre. In Les Proverbes del Vilain. Manuscript, Bodleian. (About 1303).
  • "Thy royal will be done—'tis just,"
    Replied the wretch, and kissed the dust;
    "Since, my last moments to assuage,
    Your Majesty's humane decree
    Has deigned to leave the choice to me,
    I'll die, so please you, of old age."
  • When to elect there is but one,
    'Tis Hobson's Choice; take that or none.
    • Thomas Ward, England's Reformation, Canto IV, line 896. ("Hobson's Choice" explained in Spectator. No. 509).
  • Great God! I'd rather be
    A Pagan, suckled in a creed outworn;
    So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
    Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
    Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea,
    Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

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