„If character is destiny, the good are damned.“

God Knows (1984)

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
Joseph Heller photo
Joseph Heller132
American author 1923 - 1999

Related quotes

Heraclitus photo

„Character is destiny.“

—  Heraclitus pre-Socratic Greek philosopher -535

Fragment 119
Variant translations:
Character is fate.
Man's character is his fate.
A man's character is his fate.
A man's character is his guardian divinity.
One's bearing shapes one's fate.
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων

Charles Reade photo

„Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.“

—  Charles Reade British writer 1814 - 1884

Possibly a misattribution, ascribed to Reade in Notes and Queries (9th Series) vol. 12, 17 October 1903. It appears (as an un-sourced quotation) in Life and Labor (1887) by Samuel Smiles and in the front of The Power of Womanhood by Ellice Hopkins (1899) htm http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13722/13722-h/13722-h..
Apparently a common saying in 19th century. It has been also attributed to an “old Chinese proverb”, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863), George Dana Boardman (1828-1903), Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard (1839-1898), James Allen (1864-1912), Marcus Fabius Quintilianus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quintilian http://www.worldofquotes.com/author/Quintilian-(Marcus-Fabius-Quintilian)/1/index.html and William James.
No original source has ever been isolated. Its structure strongly reflects that of a ""classical Chinese"" set of aphorisms; and it may have been deliberately constructed in that form, by a non-Chinese, to imply an oriental (and, perhaps, far wiser) origin.
Finally, almost all of those who cite the complete piece:
::We sow a thought and reap an act;
::We sow an act and reap a habit;
::We sow a habit and reap a character;
::We sow a character and reap a destiny.
state that, in their view, it was written to expand an embellish the notion that was expressed at Proverbs XXIII:7 (""For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he"").
Attributed

Stephen R. Covey photo
Tryon Edwards photo

„Thoughts lead on to purposes; puposes go forth in actions; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.“

—  Tryon Edwards American theologian 1809 - 1894

Source: A Dictionary of Thoughts, 1891, pp. 114-115.

Lyndon B. Johnson photo

„For every generation, there is a destiny. For some, history decides. For this generation, the choice must be our own. […] Our destiny in the midst of change will rest on the unchanged character of our people, and on their faith.“

—  Lyndon B. Johnson American politician, 36th president of the United States (in office from 1963 to 1969) 1908 - 1973

1960s, Inaugural address (1965)
Context: For every generation, there is a destiny. For some, history decides. For this generation, the choice must be our own. [... ] Our destiny in the midst of change will rest on the unchanged character of our people, and on their faith.

Samuel Smiles photo

„Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.“

—  Samuel Smiles Scottish author 1812 - 1904

Saying published anonymously in The Dayspring, Vol. 10 (1881) by the Unitarian Sunday-School Society, and quoted in Life and Labor (1887) by Smiles; this is most often attributed to George Dana Boardman, at least as early as 1884, but also sometimes attributed to William Makepeace Thackeray as early as 1891, probably because in in Life and Labor Smiles adds a quote by Thackeray right after this one, to Charles Reade in 1903, and to William James as early as 1906, because it appears in his Principles of Psychology (1890).
Misattributed
Source: Happy Homes and the Hearts That Make Them

Ralph Waldo Emerson photo
Thomas Aquinas photo

„Therefore they will wish all the good were damned.“

—  Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica

Supplement, Q98, Article 4
Note: This Supplement to the Third Part was compiled after Aquinas's death by Regnald of Piperno, out of material from Aquinas's much earlier "Commentary on the Sentences".
Summa Theologica (1265–1274)
Context: Even as in the blessed in heaven there will be most perfect charity, so in the damned there will be the most perfect hate. Wherefore as the saints will rejoice in all goods, so will the damned grieve for all goods. Consequently the sight of the happiness of the saints will give them very great pain; hence it is written (Isaiah 26:11): "Let the envious people see and be confounded, and let fire devour Thy enemies." Therefore they will wish all the good were damned.

George Boardman the Younger photo

„The law of the harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit, and you reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny.“

—  George Boardman the Younger American theologian 1828 - 1903

Reported in Phinneys' Calendar (1878), edited by Andrew Beers.

James Allen photo
Margaret Thatcher photo
James Joyce photo
Laozi photo

„Watch your thoughts; They become words. Watch your words; They become actions. Watch your actions; They become habits. Watch your habits; They become character. Watch your character; It becomes your destiny.“

—  Laozi semi-legendary Chinese figure, attributed to the 6th century, regarded as the author of the Tao Te Ching and founder of… -604

Source: yt

Dashiell Hammett photo

„"You’re a damn good man, sister," he said and went out.“

—  Dashiell Hammett, book The Maltese Falcon

Spade
The Maltese Falcon (1930)

Marilyn Monroe photo
Nisargadatta Maharaj photo
Azar Nafisi photo

„If you don't enter that world, hold your breath with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won't be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel.“

—  Azar Nafisi, book Reading Lolita in Tehran

Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003)
Context: A novel is not an allegory... It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don't enter that world, hold your breath with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won't be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel. This is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience. So start breathing.

Joseph Heller photo

„Being loved is a good thing. A grand thing. The best damned thing of all.“

—  Lori Wilde American writer 1958

Source: High Stakes Seduction

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