A platitude is simply a truth repeated till people get tired of hearing it.
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- We take our shape, it is true, within and against that cage of reality bequeathed us at our birth; and yet is precisely through our dependence on this reality that we are most endlessly betrayed.
- People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.
- Americans, unhappily, have the most remarkable ability to alchemize all bitter truths into an innocuous but piquant confection and to transform their moral contradictions, or public discussion of such contradictions, into a proud decoration, such as are given for heroism on the battle field.
- The responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him.
- Pessimists are the people who have no hope for themselves or for others. Pessimists are also people who think the human race is beneath their notice, that they’re better than other human beings.
- Words like freedom, justice, democracy are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous and, above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply.