Social influence

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Social influence occurs when an individual's thoughts or actions are affected by other people. Social influence takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing.


  • My heart is feminine, nor can forget—
    To all, except one image, madly blind;
    So shakes the needle, and so stands the pole,
    As vibrates my fond heart to my fix'd soul.
  • He raised a mortal to the skies;
    She drew an angel down.
  • Ah, qui jamais auroit pu dire
    Que ce petit nez retroussé
    Changerait les lois d'un empire.
    • Ah, who could have ever foretold that that little retroussé nose would change the laws of an empire.
    • Charles Simon Favart, Les Trois Sultanes (1710). Favart used the story of Soleiman, by Marmontel.
  • In the last resort, the conservative position rests on the belief that in any society there are recognizably superior persons whose inherited standards and values and position ought to be protected and who should have a greater influence on public affairs than others.
  • The growth of ideas is an international process, and only those who fully take part in the discussion will be able to exercise a significant influence.
  • The task of the political philosopher can only be to influence public opinion, not to organize people for action. He will do so effectively only if he is not concerned with what is now politically possible but consistently defends the "general principles which are always the same." In this sense I doubt whether there can be such a thing as a conservative political philosophy. Conservatism may often be a useful practical maxim, but it does not give us any guiding principles which can influence long-range developments.
  • The Nobel Prize confers on an individual an authority which in economics no man ought to possess.
    This does not matter in the natural sciences. Here the influence exercised by an individual is chiefly an influence on his fellow experts; and they will soon cut him down to size if he exceeds his competence.
    But the influence of the economist that mainly matters is an influence over laymen: politicians, journalists, civil servants and the public generally.
    There is no reason why a man who has made a distinctive contribution to economic science should be omnicompetent on all problems of society — as the press tends to treat him till in the end he may himself be persuaded to believe.
  • No life
    Can be pure in its purpose or strong in its strife
    And all life not be purer and stronger thereby.
    • Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Lucile (1860), Part II, Canto VI, Stanza 40.
  • No star ever rose or set without influence somewhere.
  • If the nose of Cleopatra had been shorter, the whole face of the earth would have been changed.
  • Thou wert my guide, philosopher, and friend.
  • Example, whether it be good or bad, has a powerful influence.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 391-93.
  • God in making man intended by him to reduce all His Works back again to Himself.
  • The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.
  • Be a pattern to others, and then all will go well; for as a whole city is affected by the licentious passions and vices of great men, so it is likewise reformed by their moderation.
  • Blessed influence of one true loving human soul on another.
  • O may I join the choir invisible
    Of those immortal dead who live again
    In minds made better by their presence; live
    In pulses stirred to generosity,
    In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
    For miserable aims that end with self.
    In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars,
    And with their mild persistence urge man's search
    To vaster issues.
  • Nor knowest thou what argument
    Thy life to thy neighbor's creed has lent,
    All are needed by each one;
    Nothing is fair or good alone.
  • A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
    • Galatians, V, 9.
  • Nor ease nor peace that heart can know,
    That like the needle true,
    Turns at the touch of joy or woe;
    But turning, trembles too.
    • Mrs. Greville, Prayer for Indifference. Same idea in Bishop Leighton's Works.
  • Lay ye down the golden chain
    From Heaven, and pull at its inferior links
    Both Goddesses and Gods.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book 8. Cowley's translation. See also in Milton—Paradise Lost, Book II. I. 1004; 1. 1050. Cotton Mather. Treatise entitled Schola et Scala Naturæ. Idea found in Lucan. "Aurea Catena Homeri," sometimes called "The Hermetic or Mercurial chain." Idea used by John Arndt, True Christianity, Book I, Chapter 4. Southey, quoting Wesley in Life of Wesley. Professor Sedgwick, Review of a Free Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Evil.
  • Spontaneously to God should turn the soul,
    Like the magnetic needle to the pole;
    But what were that intrinsic virtue worth,
    Suppose some fellow, with more zeal than knowledge,
    Fresh from St. Andrew's College,
    Should nail the conscious needle to the north?
  • Our life's a flying shadow, God the pole,
    The needle pointing to Him is our soul.
    • On a slab in Bishop Joceline's crypt in Glasgow Cathedral.
  • So when a great man dies,
    For years beyond our ken,
    The light he leaves behind him lies
    Upon the paths of men.
  • The very room, coz she was in,
    Seemed warm f'om floor to ceilin'.
  • You've got to save your own soul first, and then the souls of your neighbors if they will let you; and for that reason you must cultivate, not a spirit of criticism, but the talents that attract people to the hearing of the Word.
  • Even here Thy strong magnetic charms I fed,
    And pant and tremble like the amorous steel.
    To lower good, and beauties less divine,
    Sometimes my erroneous needle does incline;
    But yet (so strong the sympathy)
    It turns, and points again to Thee.
    • Norris of Bemerton, Aspiration. Same idea in his Contemplation and Love, and The Prayer. Simile of the magnetic needle and the soul found in: Robert Cawdray's, Treasure or Store-house of Similes, printed in London, 1609, Volume VI and VII. Gregory, Works, Chapter XXXVII; also Ch, XII. (Ed. 1684). Raimond Lull of Majorica, Memorials of Christian Life (before 1315). Southey, The Partidas. In his Omniana, Volume I, p. 210.
  • Si possem sanior essem.
    Sed trahit invitam nova vis; aliudque Cupido,
    Mens aliud.
    • If it were in my power, I would be wiser; but a newly felt power carries me off in spite of myself; love leads me one way, my understanding another.
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, VII. 18.
  • Thus does the Muse herself move men divinely inspired, and through them thus inspired a Chain hangs together of others inspired divinely likewise.
    • Plato, Ion., Par. V. Simile called "Plato's Rings".
  • By the golden chain Homer meant nothing else than the sun.
    • Plato in Kircher's Magnes Sive de Arte Magnetica. See also Hare's Guesses at Truth. 2nd Series. Ed. 3, p. 377.
  • And the touch'd needle trembles to the pole.
  • They are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.
    • Psalms. LVIII. 4. 5.
  • Even as the needle that directs the hour,
    (Touched with the loadstone) by the secret power
    Of hidden Nature, points upon the pole;
    Even so the wavering powers of my soul,
    Touch'd by the virtue of Thy spirit, flee
    From what is earth, and point alone to Thee.
  • Such souls,
    Whose sudden visitations daze the world,
    Vanish like lightning, but they leave behind
    A voice that in the distance far away
    Wakens the slumbering ages.
    • Sir Henry Taylor, Philip Van Artevelde, Part I, Act I, scene 7.
  • For so the whole round Earth is every way
    Bound by Gold Chains about the Feet of God.
  • I thank God that if I am gifted with little of the spirit which is said to be able to raise mortals to the skies, I have yet none, as I trust, of that other spirit, which would drag angels down.
  • It is very true that I have said that I considered Napoleon's presence in the field equal to forty thousand men in the balance. This is a very loose way of talking; but the idea is a very different one from that of his presence at a battle being equal to a reinforcement of forty thousand men.
  • Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves
    Of their bad influence, and their good receives.
  • Whose powers shed round him in the common strife,
    Or mild concerns of ordinary life,
    A constant influence, a peculiar grace.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • The Bible calls the good man's life a light; and it is the nature of light to flow out spontaneously in all directions, and fill the world unconsciously with its beams. So the Christian shines it would say, not so much because he will, as because he is a luminous object. Not that the active influence of Christians is made of no account in the figure, but only that this symbol of light has its propriety in the fact that their unconscious influence is the chief influence, and has the precedence in its power over the world. The outward endeavors made by good men or bad to sway others, they call their influence; whereas it is, in fact, but a fraction, and, in most cases, but a very small fraction of the good or evil that flows out of their lives.
  • If you had the seeds of a pestilence in your body, you would not have a more active contagion than you have in your tempers, tastes, and principles. Simply to be in this world, whatever you are, is to exert an influence—-an influence, too, compared with which mere language and persuasion are feeble.
  • What we do is transacted on a stage of which all the universe are spectators. What we say is transmitted in echoes that will never cease. What we are is influencing and acting on the rest of mankind. Neutral we cannot be. Living, we act; and dead, we speak; and the whole universe is the mighty company forever looking, forever listening, and all nature the tablets, forever recording the words, the deeds, the thoughts, the passions of mankind.
  • No fountain is so small but that heaven may be imaged in its bosom.
  • To get good is animal; to do good is human; to be good is Divine. The true use of a man's possessions is to help his work; and the best end of all his work is to show us what he is. The noblest workers of our world bequeath us nothing so great as the image of themselves. Their task, be it ever so glorious, is historical and transient; the majesty of their spirit is essential and eternal.
  • Every word, thought, and deed has its influence upon the destiny of man. Every life, well spent or ill spent, bears with it a long train of consequences, extending through generations yet unborn.
  • The serene, silent beauty of a holy life is the most powerful influence in the world, next to the might of the Spirit of God.

See also

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