Famous Quotes & Sayings

Sarah Bakewell Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 17 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Sarah Bakewell.

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Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom', — Sarah Bakewell

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Ideas are interesting, but people are vastly more so. — Sarah Bakewell

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From now on, he wrote, we must always take into account our knowledge that we can destroy ourselves at will, with all our history and perhaps life on earth itself. Nothing stops us but our own free choosing. If we want to survive, we have to decide to live. Thus, he offered a philosophy designed for a species that had just scared the hell out of itself, but that finally felt ready to grow up and take responsibility. — Sarah Bakewell

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Over the centuries, this interpretation and reinterpretation creates a long chain connecting a writer to all future readers- who frequently read each other as well as the original. Virginia Woolf had a beautiful vision of generations interlinked in this way: of how "minds are threaded together- how any live mind is of the very same stuff as Plato's & Euripides ... It is this common mind that binds the whole world together; & all the world is mind." This capacity for living on through readers' inner worlds over long periods of history is what makes a book like the 'Essays' a true classic. As it is reborn differently in each mind, it also brings those minds together. — Sarah Bakewell

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Each man is a good education to himself, provided he has the capacity to spy on himself from close up. — Sarah Bakewell

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Seneca did this too: Place before your mind's eye the vast spread of time's abyss, and consider the universe; and then contrast our so-called human life with infinity. — Sarah Bakewell

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for Arendt, if you do not respond adequately when the times demand it, you show a lack of imagination and attention that is as dangerous as deliberately committing an abuse. — Sarah Bakewell

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Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.) — Sarah Bakewell

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it was one of the many petty weaknesses Montaigne cheerfully acknowledged, adding: If others examined themselves attentively, as I do, they would find themselves, as I do, full of inanity and nonsense. Get rid of it I cannot without getting rid of myself. We are all steeped in it, one as much as another; but those who are aware of it are a little better off - though I don't know. — Sarah Bakewell

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Sartre proposed that all situations be judged according to how they appeared in the eyes of those most oppressed, or those whose suffering was greatest. Martin Luther King Jr. was among the civil rights pioneers who took an interest. While working on his philosophy of non-violent resistance, he read Sartre, Heidegger and the German-American existentialist theologian Paul Tillich. — Sarah Bakewell

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Seneca had an extreme trick for practising amor fati. He was asthmatic, and attacks brought him almost to the point of suffocation. He often felt that he was about to die, but he learned to use each attack as a philosophical opportunity. While his throat closed and his lungs strained for breath, he tried to embrace what was happening to him: to say "yes" to it. I will this, he would think; and, if necessary, I will myself to die from it. When the attack receded, he emerged feeling stronger, for he had done battle with fear and defeated it. — Sarah Bakewell

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Seneca put it, life does not pause to remind you that it is running out. — Sarah Bakewell

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Many authors also attacked the widespread corruption among lawyers. In general, justice was recognized as being so unjust that, as Montaigne complained, ordinary people avoided it rather than seeking it out. He cited a local incident in which a group of peasants found a man lying stabbed and bleeding on a path. He begged them to give him water and help him to his feet, but they ran off, not daring to touch him in case they were held responsible for the attack. Montaigne had the job of talking to them after they were tracked down. "What could I say to them?" he wrote. They were right to be afraid. In another case he mentions, a gang of killers confessed to a murder for which someone had already been tried and was about to be executed. Surely this ought to mean a stay of execution? No, decided the court: that would set a dangerous precedent for overturning judgments. — Sarah Bakewell

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He blushed to see other Frenchmen overcome with joy whenever they met a compatriot abroad. The would fall on each other, cluster in a raucous group, and pass whole evenings complaining about the barbarity of the locals. These were the few who actually noticed that locals did things differently. Others managed to travel so 'covered and wrapped in a taciturn and incommunicative prudence, defending themselves from the contagion of an unknown atmosphere' that they noticed nothing at all. — Sarah Bakewell

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You should make your choices as though you were choosing on behalf of the whole of humanity, — Sarah Bakewell

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Be free from vanity and pride. Be free from belief, disbelief, convictions, and parties. Be free from habit. Be free from ambition and greed. Be free from family and surroundings. Be free from fanaticism. Be free from fate; be master of your own life. Be free from death; life depends on the will of others, but death on our own will. — Sarah Bakewell

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As history has repeatedly suggested, nothing is more effective for demolishing traditional legal protections than the combined claims that a crime is uniquely dangerous, and that those behind it have exceptional powers of resistance. [On witchburning in France during the 16th Century.] — Sarah Bakewell