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Charles Horton Cooley quotes (31)

A man may lack everything but tact and conviction and still be a forcible speaker; but without these nothing will avail... Fluency, grace, logical order, and the like, are merely the decorative surface of oratory.
Charles Horton Cooley   Category:

A talent somewhat above mediocrity, shrewd and not too sensitive, is more likely to rise in the world than genius.
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An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.
Charles Horton Cooley   Category: Art

As social beings we live with our eyes upon our reflection, but have no assurance of the tranquillity of the waters in which we see it.
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Between richer and poorer classes in a free country a mutually respecting antagonism is much healthier than pity on the one hand and dependence on the other, as is, perhaps, the next best thing to fraternal feeling.
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Each man must have his I; it is more necessary to him than bread; and if he does not find scope for it within the existing institutions he will be likely to make trouble.
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Every general increase of freedom is accompanied by some degeneracy, attributable to the same causes as the freedom.
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Failure sometimes enlarges the spirit. You have to fall back upon humanity and God.
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If we divine a discrepancy between a man's words and his character, the whole impression of him becomes broken and painful; he revolts the imagination by his lack of unity, and even the good in him is hardly accepted.
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Institutions - government, churches, industries, and the like - have properly no other function than to contribute to human freedom; and in so far as they fail, on the whole, to perform this function, they are wrong and need reconstruction.
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One should never criticize his own work except in a fresh and hopeful mood. The self-criticism of a tired mind is suicide.
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Our individual lives cannot, generally, be works of art unless the social order is also.
Charles Horton Cooley   Category: Society

Prudence and compromise are necessary means, but every man should have an impudent end which he will not compromise.
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So far as discipline is concerned, freedom means not its absence but the use of higher and more rational forms as contrasted with those that are lower or less rational.
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The bashful are always aggressive at heart.
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The general fact is that the most effective way of utilizing human energy is through an organized rivalry, which by specialization and social control is, at the same time, organized co-operation.
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The idea that seeing life means going from place to place and doing a great variety of obvious things is an illusion natural to dull minds.
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The imaginations which people have of one another are the solid facts of society.
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The literature of the inner life is very largely a record of struggle with the inordinate passions of the social self.
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The mind is not a hermit's cell, but a place of hospitality and intercourse.
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The need to exert power, when thwarted in the open fields of life, is the more likely to assert itself in trifles.
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There is hardly any one so insignificant that he does not seem imposing to some one at some time.
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There is no way to penetrate the surface of life but by attacking it earnestly at a particular point.
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There is nothing less to our credit than our neglect of the foreigner and his children, unless it be the arrogance most of us betray when we set out to "Americanize" him.
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To cease to admire is a proof of deterioration.
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To get away from one's working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one's self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.
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To have no heroes is to have no aspiration, to live on the momentum of the past, to be thrown back upon routine, sensuality, and the narrow self.
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Unless a capacity for thinking be accompanied by a capacity for action, a superior mind exists in torture.
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We are ashamed to seem evasive in the presence of a straightforward man, cowardly in the presence of a brave one, gross in the eyes of a refined one, and so on. We always imagine, and in imagining share, the judgments of the other mind.
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We have no higher life that is really apart from other people. It is by imagining them that our personality is built up; to be without the power of imagining them is to be a low-grade idiot.
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When one ceases from conflict, whether because he has won, because he has lost, or because he cares no more for the game, the virtue passes out of him.
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