„The greatest enemy is one that has nothing to lose.“

Source: Eragon

Last update June 3, 2021. History
Christopher Paolini photo
Christopher Paolini166
American author 1983

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Karl Kraus photo
Théodore Guérin photo

„When one has nothing more to lose, the heart is inaccessible to fear.“

—  Théodore Guérin Catholic saint and nun from France 1798 - 1856

First Journal of Travel (1840)

Ronald Reagan photo

„We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.“

—  Ronald Reagan American politician, 40th president of the United States (in office from 1981 to 1989) 1911 - 2004

1960s, A Time for Choosing (1964)
Context: As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.

Edmund Burke photo
Pablo Neruda photo
Piet Hein photo

„Losing one glove
is certainly painful,
but nothing
compared to the pain,
of losing one,
throwing away the other,
and finding
the first one again.“

—  Piet Hein Danish puzzle designer, mathematician, author, poet 1905 - 1996

Consolation Grook, his first grook, published in Politiken (April 1940) as translated in Grooks (1966)
Grooks

William Osler photo

„Humanity has but three great enemies: fever, famine, and war; of these by far the greatest, by far the most terrible, is fever.“

—  William Osler Canadian pathologist, physician, educator, bibliophile, historian, author, cofounder of Johns Hopkins Hospital 1849 - 1919

Vol. I, ch. 14.
The Life of Sir William Osler (1925)

„The greatest enemy to fear is truth.“

—  Steve Maraboli 1975

Source: Life, the Truth, and Being Free (2010), p. 101

Susan Elizabeth Phillips photo

„Don't dare a person who has nothing else left to lose.“

—  Susan Elizabeth Phillips American writer 1948

Variant: You shouldn't dare a person who doesn't have anything left to lose.
Source: Kiss an Angel

John C. Maxwell photo

„The greatest enemy of good thinking is busyness.“

—  John C. Maxwell American author, speaker and pastor 1947

Source: The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization

George Orwell photo

„The greatest enemy of clear language is insincerity.“

—  George Orwell English author and journalist 1903 - 1950

Voltaire photo

„Nothing is so common as to imitate one's enemies, and to use their weapons.“

—  Voltaire French writer, historian, and philosopher 1694 - 1778

Rien n’est si ordinaire que d’imiter ses ennemis, et d’employer leurs armes.
"Oracles" (1770)
Citas, Questions sur l'Encyclopédie (1770–1774)

Friedrich Nietzsche photo

„How much reverence has a noble man for his enemies!—and such reverence is a bridge to love.—For he desires his enemy for himself, as his mark of distinction; he can endure no other enemy than one in whom there is nothing to despise and very much to honor!“

—  Friedrich Nietzsche, book On the Genealogy of Morality

Essay 1, Section 11
On the Genealogy of Morality (1887)
Context: To be incapable of taking one's enemies, one's accidents, even one's misdeeds seriously for very long—that is the sign of strong, full natures in whom there is an excess of the power to form, to mold, to recuperate and to forget[... ] Such a man shakes off with a single shrug many vermin that eat deep into others; here alone genuine 'love of one's enemies' is possible—supposing it to be possible at all on earth. How much reverence has a noble man for his enemies!—and such reverence is a bridge to love.—For he desires his enemy for himself, as his mark of distinction; he can endure no other enemy than one in whom there is nothing to despise and very much to honor!

James Baldwin photo
Haruki Murakami photo
Daniel J. Boorstin photo
Stephen Hawking photo

„The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance. It is the illusion of knowledge.“

—  Stephen Hawking British theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author 1942 - 2018

Sometimes attributed to Hawking without a source, but originally from historian Daniel J. Boorstin. It appears in different forms in The Discoverers (1983), Cleopatra's Nose (1995), and introduction to The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1995)
Misattributed

Albert Einstein photo

„Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

Letter to Jost Winteler (1901), quoted in The Private Lives of Albert Einstein by Roger Highfield and Paul Carter (1993), p. 79 http://books.google.com/books?id=zY7FE9ZyDO0C&lpg=PP1&pg=PA79#v=onepage&q&f=false. Einstein had been annoyed that Paul Drude, editor of Annalen der Physik, had dismissed out of hand some criticisms Einstein made of Drude's electron theory of metals.
1900s
Variant: A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi photo

„Muslim brothers be damned; they're our greatest enemies. You know yourself that I'm a Muslim, even a fanatical Muslim. But that does nothing to alter my opinion of the Arabs.“

—  Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Shah of Iran 1919 - 1980

As quoted in Asadollah Alam (1991), The Shah and I: The Confidential Diary of Iran's Royal Court, 1968-77, page 330
Attributed

Josip Broz Tito photo

„Churchill, he is a great man. He is, of course, our enemy and has always been the enemy of Communism, but he is an enemy one must respect, an enemy one likes to have.“

—  Josip Broz Tito Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman 1892 - 1980

Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 323.
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