„Whatever can be done, can be undone.“

Rand al'Thor
A Crown of Swords (15 May 1996)

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update Jan. 15, 2022. History
Robert Jordan photo
Robert Jordan305
American writer 1948 - 2007

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„What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.“

—  Anne Frank victim of the Holocaust and author of a diary 1929 - 1945

Source: The Diary of a Young Girl

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„Whatever can be done another day can be done today.“

—  Michel De Montaigne, book Essays

Book I, Ch. 20
Essais (1595), Book I

Andrew S. Grove photo

„A fundamental rule in technology says that whatever can be done will be done.“

—  Andrew S. Grove Hungarian-born American businessman, engineer, and author 1936 - 2016

Attributed to Andy Grove in: Ciarán Parker (2006) The Thinkers 50: The World's Most Influential Business. p. 70
New millennium

John McDonnell photo

„We should not pretend the referendum result can be undone.“

—  John McDonnell British politician (born 1951) 1951

Source: John McDonnell says Tories want 'bankers' Brexit' https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37782041 BBC News (27 October 2016)

Libba Bray photo
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„Whatever can be done while poetry and philosophy are separated has been done and accomplished. So the time has come to unite the two.“

—  Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel German poet, critic and scholar 1772 - 1829

Was sich thun lässt, so lange Philosophie und Poesie getrennt sind, ist gethan und vollendet. Also ist die Zeit nun da, beyde zu vereinigen.
“Ideas,” Lucinde and the Fragments, P. Firchow, trans. (1991), § 108

Algernon Sidney photo

„Civil war, in Macchiavel's account, is a disease; but tyranny is the death of a state. Gentle ways are first to be used, and it is best if the work can be done by them; but it must not be left undone, if they fail.“

—  Algernon Sidney British politician and political theorist 1623 - 1683

Source: Discourses Concerning Government (1689), Ch. 3, Sect. 3.
Context: If these rules have not been well observed in the first constitution, or from the changes of times, corruption of manners, insensible encroachments, or violent usurpations of princes, have been rendered ineffectual, and the people exposed to all the calamities that may be brought upon them by the weakness, vices, and malice of the prince, or those who govern him, I confess the remedies are more difficult and dangerous; but even in those cases they must be tried. Nothing can be feared that is worse than what is suffered, or must in a short time fall upon those who are in this condition. They who are already fallen into all that is odious, shameful, and miserable, cannot justly fear. When things are brought to such a pass, the boldest counsels are the most safe; and if they must perish who lie still, and they can but perish who are most active, the choice is easily made. Let the danger be never so great, there is a possibility of safety, whilst men have life, hands, arms, and courage to use them; but that people must certainly perish, who tamely suffer themselves to be oppressed, either by the injustice, cruelty, and malice of an ill magistrate, or by those who prevail upon the vices and infirmities of weak princes. It is in vain to say, that this may give occasion to men of raising tumults, or civil war; for tho' these are evils, yet they are not the greatest of evils. Civil war, in Macchiavel's account, is a disease; but tyranny is the death of a state. Gentle ways are first to be used, and it is best if the work can be done by them; but it must not be left undone, if they fail. It is good to use supplications, advices, and remonstrances; but those who have no regard to justice, and will not hearken to counsel, must be constrained. It is folly to deal otherwise with a man who will not be guided by reason, and a magistrate who despises the law; or rather, to think him a man, who rejects the essential principle of a man; or to account him a magistrate, who overthrows the law by which he is a magistrate. This is the last result; but those nations must come to it, which cannot otherwise be preserved.

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Ellen Kushner photo

„In real life, my sweet poet,” the duke said as the swordsmen circled, “words can never be undone.“

—  Ellen Kushner, book The Privilege of the Sword

Part I, Chapter IX (p. 99)
The Privilege of the Sword (2006)

Khaled Hosseini photo
Jonathan Van Ness photo

„Just because we mess up doesn't mean all the lessons we learned are undone. Healing can be imperfect.“

—  Jonathan Van Ness American hairstylist and television personality 1987

page 173
Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love (2019)

James Madison photo

„If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.“

—  James Madison 4th president of the United States (1809 to 1817) 1751 - 1836

Letter to http://rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/founders/default.xqy?keys=JSMN-print-01-14-02-0174&mode=deref w:Edmund Pendleton (21 January 1792)
1790s
Context: If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions. It is to be remarked that the phrase out of which this doctrine is elaborated, is copied from the old articles of Confederation, where it was always understood as nothing more than a general caption to the specified powers, and it is a fact that it was preferred in the new instrument for that very reason as less liable than any other to misconstruction.

Frances Hodgson Burnett photo
Cesar Chavez photo

„It can be done!“

—  Cesar Chavez American farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist 1927 - 1993

¡Sí se puede!
Personal motto later officially used by the United Farm Workers http://www.ufw.org/_page.php?menu=about&inc=about_vision.html

Robert Burns photo

„Now a' is done that men can do,
And a' is done in vain.“

—  Robert Burns Scottish poet and lyricist 1759 - 1796

It Was A' for Our Rightfu' King, st. 2
Johnson's The Scots Musical Museum (1787-1796)

„What men have done can still be done
And shall be done to-day.“

—  George Barlow

The Song of Abu Klea, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

Orson Scott Card photo

„He’d undone all he could. You can be sorry, and you can be forgiven, but you can’t call back the futures that your bad decisions lost. He didn’t need no philosopher to tell him that.“

—  Orson Scott Card American science fiction novelist 1951

Source: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Prentice Alvin (1989), Chapter 9.

W. Clement Stone photo

„Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.“

—  W. Clement Stone American New Thought author 1902 - 2002

Actually said by Napoleon Hill, Stone later added the line "...with P.M.A." (Positive Mental Attitude) to the end of this quote.
Misattributed
Variant: Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Napoleon Hill photo

„Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.“

—  Napoleon Hill American author 1883 - 1970

p.32 -->
Variant: Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
Source: Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice

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