„The ideal country does not exist, as progress would discontinue. A life without ideals would be individually miserable and politically useless.“

Source: Address given Assuming the Office / at the Saeima, https://www.president.lv/en/article/address-he-president-latvia-mr-egils-levits-assuming-office-saeima

Edited by Martin Svoboda. Last update June 14, 2021. History
Egils Levits photo
Egils Levits7
Latvian judge, jurist and politician 1955

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„Political ideals must be based upon ideals for the individual life. The aim of politics should be to make the lives of individuals as good as possible.“

—  Bertrand Russell logician, one of the first analytic philosophers and political activist 1872 - 1970

1910s, Political Ideals (1917)

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„Visionary idealism is a male art form. The lesbian aesthete does not exist. But if there were one, she would have learned from the perverse male mind.“

—  Camille Paglia American writer 1947

Source: Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990), p. 117

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„The ideal form for a poem, essay, or fiction, is that which the ideal writer would evolve spontaneously.“

—  Herbert Spencer English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist 1820 - 1903

Pt. II, sec. 4, "The Ideal Writer"
The Philosophy of Style (1852)
Context: The ideal form for a poem, essay, or fiction, is that which the ideal writer would evolve spontaneously. One in whom the powers of expression fully responded to the state of feeling, would unconsciously use that variety in the mode of presenting his thoughts, which Art demands.

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„The perfect ideal would be that a man who is essentially nonviolent would be able to defend himself against any form of violence. But this is very rare in life.“

—  James Jones American author 1921 - 1977

The Paris Review interview (1958)
Context: The perfect ideal would be that a man who is essentially nonviolent would be able to defend himself against any form of violence. But this is very rare in life. But this raises one of the most important themes in Eternity, why Prewitt does not shoot back at the MPs who kill him as he tries to get back to his unit after his murder of Fatso Judson. You see, when Prewitt kills Fatso he is carrying the theory of vengeance by violence to its final logical end. But the thing is that Fatso doesn't even know why he is being killed; and when Prewitt sees that, he realizes what a fruitless thing he has done.

Erich Segal photo

„They are assuming that individual real objects are carriers of meaning, that the meaning is found in them as redness is found in an apple, and that it ought to be expressed with the main object of fidelity to the particular. What they overlook is that meaning does not exist in this sense, that it is something that we create for purposes of cognition and communication, and that the ideal construct has the virtue of its ideality.“

—  Richard M. Weaver American scholar 1910 - 1963

“Relativism and the Use of Language,” pp. 124-126.
Language is Sermonic (1970)
Context: One type of critic today tends to attack language as a means of communication on this very ground — the ground that words are conventional in their meaning and are therefore falsifying. The point of the criticism is that a convention is something abstracted and, therefore, untrue, a generalized sign of the thing itself, which we use because we are unable or unwilling to render the thing in itself in its fullness. A word in this conception is nothing but a stereotype, and “stereotype” is here an expression of disparagement, because it is felt that “typing” anything that is real distorts the thing by presenting it in something less than its full individuality and concreteness. Let us suppose that I make reference to a tree standing in my yard. The term “tree” does not designate the object with any degree of particularity. It does not tell whether the tree is young or old, low or tall, an oak, pine, or maple. The term is, therefore, merely a utility symbol, which I employ in communicating because in my laziness or incompetence I cannot find a fuller and more individualizing way of expressing this tree. If I were really communicating, the argument goes, I would reject the falsifying stereotype and produce something more nearly like the picture of the tree. But if the analysis I have offered earlier is correct, these critics are beginning at the wrong end. They are assuming that individual real objects are carriers of meaning, that the meaning is found in them as redness is found in an apple, and that it ought to be expressed with the main object of fidelity to the particular. What they overlook is that meaning does not exist in this sense, that it is something that we create for purposes of cognition and communication, and that the ideal construct has the virtue of its ideality. Hence it appears that they misconceive the function of the word as conventional sign or “typifier.” For if it is true that the word conveys something less than the fullness of the thing signified, it is also true that it conveys something more. A word in this role is a generalization. the value of a generalization is that while it leaves out the specific feature that are of the individual or of the moment, it expresses features that are general to a class and may be lacking or imperfect in the single instance.

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„Ideally a just constitution would be a just procedure arranged to insure a just outcome.“

—  John Rawls, book A Theory of Justice

Source: A Theory of Justice (1971; 1975; 1999), Chapter IV, Section 31, pg. 197

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„To retreat from any of the principles handed down by our forefathers, who shed their blood for the ideals we still embrace, would be a complete victory for those who would destroy liberty and justice for the individual.“

—  Walt Disney American film producer and businessman 1901 - 1966

Deeds Rather Than Words (1963)
Context: To me, today, at age sixty-one, all prayer, by the humble or highly placed, has one thing in common: supplication for strength and inspiration to carry on the best human impulses which should bind us together for a better world. Without such inspiration, we would rapidly deteriorate and finally perish. But in our troubled time, the right of men to think and worship as their conscience dictates is being sorely pressed. We can retain these privileges only by being constantly on guard and fighting off any encroachment on these precepts. To retreat from any of the principles handed down by our forefathers, who shed their blood for the ideals we still embrace, would be a complete victory for those who would destroy liberty and justice for the individual.

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„The development of an individual will invariably be in the direction of his ideal, and will partake largely of the nature and character of that ideal.“

—  William H. Crogman American classical philologist 1841 - 1931

Source: Talks for the Times (1896), "The Importance of Correct Ideals" (1892), p. 272

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Adam Schaff photo

„Humanism does not exist in itself, just as man taken in himself and for himself does not exist. Only concrete man exists, man set in a particular age, living in a particular country, belonging to a particular social class, representing a particular tradition and particular personal ideals.“

—  Adam Schaff Polish Marxist philosopher and theorist 1913 - 2006

Adam Schaff (1947), cited in: Susan Petrilli and Augusto Ponzio (2007) "Adam Schaff: from Semantics to Political Semiotics." 9th World Congress of IASS/AIS. 2007.

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„Religion is concerned with man's attitude toward nature at large, with the establishing of ideals for the individual and communal life, and with mutual human relationship.“

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

1940s, Religion and Science: Irreconcilable? (1948)
Context: Science, in the immediate, produces knowledge and, indirectly, means of action. It leads to methodical action if definite goals are set up in advance. For the function of setting up goals and passing statements of value transcends its domain. While it is true that science, to the extent of its grasp of causative connections, may reach important conclusions as to the compatibility and incompatibility of goals and evaluations, the independent and fundamental definitions regarding goals and values remain beyond science's reach.
As regards religion, on the other hand, one is generally agreed that it deals with goals and evaluations and, in general, with the emotional foundation of human thinking and acting, as far as these are not predetermined by the inalterable hereditary disposition of the human species. Religion is concerned with man's attitude toward nature at large, with the establishing of ideals for the individual and communal life, and with mutual human relationship. These ideals religion attempts to attain by exerting an educational influence on tradition and through the development and promulgation of certain easily accessible thoughts and narratives (epics and myths) which are apt to influence evaluation and action along the lines of the accepted ideals.

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