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 :: 1819-1900, British Critic, Social Theorist

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How false is the conception, how frantic the pursuit, of that treacherous phantom which men call Liberty: most treacherous, indeed, of all phantoms; for the feeblest ray of reason might surely show us, that not only its attainment, but its being, was impossible. There is no such thing in the universe. There can never be. The stars have it not; the earth has it not; the sea has it not; and we men have the mockery and semblance of it only for our heaviest punishment.
~ John Ruskin - [Liberty]

 

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How long most people would look at the best book before they would give the price of a large turbot for it?
~ John Ruskin - [Books and Reading]

 

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I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face.
~ John Ruskin - [Arts and Artists]

 

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I look upon those pitiful concretions of lime and clay which spring up, in mildewed forwardness, out of the kneaded fields about our capital... not merely with the careless disgust of an offended eye, not merely with sorrow for a desecrated landscape, but with a painful foreboding that the roots of our national greatness must be deeply cankered when they are thus loosely struck in their native ground. The crowded tenements of a struggling and restless population differ only from the tents of the Arab or the Gipsy by their less healthy openness to the air of heaven, and less happy choice of their spot of earth; by their sacrifice of liberty without the gain of rest, and of stability without the luxury of change.
~ John Ruskin - [Cities and City Life]

 

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If a great thing can be done, it can be done easily, but this ease is like the of ease of a tree blossoming after long years of gathering strength.
~ John Ruskin - [Success]

 

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If men lived like men indeed, their houses would be temples -- temples which we should hardly dare to injure, and in which it would make us holy to be permitted to live; and there must be a strange dissolution of natural affection, a strange unthankfulness for all that homes have given and parents taught, a strange consciousness that we have been unfaithful to our fathers honor, or that our own lives are not such as would make our dwellings sacred to our children, when each man would fain build to himself, and build for the little revolution of his own life only.
~ John Ruskin - [Home]

 

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Imaginary evils soon become real one by indulging our reflections on them.
~ John Ruskin - [Imagination]

 

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In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.
~ John Ruskin - [Pride]

 

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In great countries, children are always trying to remain children, and the parents want to make them into adults. In vile countries, the children are always wanting to be adults and the parents want to keep them children.
~ John Ruskin - [Children]

 

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In health of mind and body, men should see with their own eyes, hear and speak without trumpets, walk on their feet, not on wheels, and work and war with their arms, not with engine-beams, nor rifles warranted to kill twenty men at a shot before you can see them.
~ John Ruskin - [Technology]

 

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In old times men used their powers of painting to show the objects of faith, in later times they use the objects of faith to show their powers of painting.
~ John Ruskin - [Painters and Painting]

 

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It does not matter what the whip is; it is none the less a whip, because you have cut thongs for it out of your own souls.
~ John Ruskin - [Submission]

 

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It is advisable that a person know at least three things, where they are, where they are going, and what they had best do under the circumstances.
~ John Ruskin - [Life and Living]

 

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It is eminently a weariable faculty, eminently delicate, and incapable of bearing fatigue; so that if we give it too many objects at a time to employ itself upon, or very grand ones for a long time together, it fails under the effort, becomes jaded, exactly as the limbs do by bodily fatigue, and incapable of answering any farther appeal till it has had rest.
~ John Ruskin - [Imagination]

 

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It is excellent discipline for an author to feel that he must say all that he has to say in the fewest possible words, or his readers is sure to skip them.
~ John Ruskin - [Writers and Writing]

 

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It is far better to give work that is above a person, than to educate the person to be above their work.
~ John Ruskin - [Goals]

 

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It is far more difficult to be simple than to be complicated; far more difficult to sacrifice skill and easy execution in the proper place, than to expand both indiscriminately.
~ John Ruskin - [Simplicity]

 

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It is his restraint that is honorable to a person, not their liberty.
~ John Ruskin - [Restraint]

 

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It is impossible, as impossible as to raise the dead, to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture. That which I have... insisted upon as the life of the whole, that spirit which is given only by the hand and eye of the workman, can never be recalled.
~ John Ruskin - [Heritage]

 

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It is not how much one makes but to what purpose one spends.
~ John Ruskin - [Money]

 

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