For that which has become habitual, becomes as it were natural.Aristotle: Rhetorica,1370a (translated by J H Freese).
You, who know better than any one the motley world of cosmopolites, understand why I have confined myself to painting here only a fragment of it. That world, indeed, does not exist, it can have neither defined customs nor a general character. It is composed of exceptions and of singularities. We are so naturally creatures of custom, our continual mobility has such a need of gravitating around one fixed axis, that motives of a personal order alone can determine us upon an habitual and voluntary exile from our native land. It is so, now in the case of an artist, a person seeking for instruction and change; now in the case of a business man who desires to escape the consequences of some scandalous error; now in the case of a man of pleasure in search of new adventures; in the case of another, who cherishes prejudices from birth, it is the longing to find the "happy mean;" in the case of another, flight from distasteful memories. The life of the cosmopolite can conceal all beneath the vulgarity of its whims, from snobbery in quest of higher connections to swindling in quest of easier prey, submitting to the brilliant frivolities of the sport, the sombre intrigues of policy, or the sadness of a life which has been a failure. Such a variety of causes renders at once very attractive and almost impracticable the task of the author who takes as a model that ever-changing society so like unto itself in the exterior rites and fashions, so really, so intimately complex and composite in its fundamental elements. The writer is compelled to take from it a series of leading facts, as I have done, essaying to deduce a law which governs them.paul bourget: Introduction
O Heavenly Father, convert my religion from a name to a principle! Bring all my thoughts and movements into an habitual reference to Thee!thomas chalmers: P. 497. (Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895))
Mere chance ... alone would never account for so habitual and large an amount of difference as that between varieties of the same species and species of the same genus.Charles Darwin, Origin of Species (1859) chapter IV: "Natural Selection", p. 111
O Heavenly Father! convert my religion from a name to a principle. Bring all my thoughts and movements into an habitual reference to Thee.Thomas Chalmers, diary entry, 14 March 1812.
Thought depends on the habitual exercise of the speculative faculties; action, on the determination of the will. The one assigns reasons for things, the other puts causes into act. ... Such is the effeminacy of the speculative and philosophical temperament, compared with the promptness and vigour of the practical! ... Reasoners in general are undecided, wavering, and sceptical, or yield at last to the weakest motive as most congenial to their feeble habit of soul.william hazlitt: "On Thought and Action"
On all the matters that touch upon the critical moral issues, Arnold Schwarzenegger is on the evil side. This is a fact. A mere list of the positions he supports is enough to make this plain: abortion as a "right," cloning of human beings, governmental classification of citizens by race, public benefits for sexual partners outside of marriage, disrespect for property rights against environmental extremism, repudiation of the right to bear arms — no more need be said to show that this candidate is wrong where human decency, human rights and human responsibility bear directly on political issues. Last week, we saw Schwarzenegger does not deny habitual crude offenses against young women. Rather, he theatrically, vaguely and impersonally apologizes for them, before a roaring crowd of adoring fans, admitting neither any connection between action and character, nor any need for genuine penance or reformation. The Republicans who vote for Schwarzenegger will owe Bill Clinton an apology for having given the nation the impression that they sincerely believed character to be an issue for those claiming high office.alan keyes: Source: Arnold's corruption of Republican Party, WorldNetDaily, October 6, 2003.
Traditional autocrats leave in place existing allocations of wealth, power, status, and other re- sources which in most traditional societies favor an affluent few and maintain masses in poverty. But they worship traditional gods and observe traditional taboos. They do not disturb the habitual rhythms of work and leisure, habitual places of residence, habitual patterns of family and personal relations. Because the miseries of traditional life are familiar, they are bearable to ordinary people who, growing up in the society, learn to cope, as children born to untouchables in India acquire the skills and attitudes necessary for survival in the miserable roles they are destined to fill.jeane kirkpatrick: Dictatorships and Double Standards
Avant-garde art has become habitual, a dead letter with little spiritual consequence, however materially refined."Reconsidering the Spiritual in Art", Blackbird (2003)
Fame , power , and gold , are loved for their own sakes are worshipped with a blind, habitual idolatry. The pageantry of empire, and the fame of irresistible might, are contemplated by the possessor with unmeaning complacency, without a retrospect to the properties which first made him consider them of value. It is from the cultivation of the most contemptible properties of human nature that discord and torpor and indifference, by which the moral universe is disordered, essentially depend. So long as these are the ties by which human society is connected, let it not be admitted that they are fragile.Percy Bysshe Shelley, in Essay on Christianity (1859)
Nothing is so contemptible as habitual contempt. It is impossible to remain long under its control without being dwarfed by its influence.elias lyman magoo: P. 160. (Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895))
You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only of principally from human relationships. God had placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.christopher mccandless: In a letter to Ron Franz, April 1992
The medical revolution that began with the beginning of the twentieth century had warped all human society for five hundred years. America had adjusted to Eli Whitney's cotton gin in less than half that time. As with the gin, the effects would never quite die out. But already society was swinging back to what had once been normal. Slowly; but there was motion. In Brazil a small but growing, alliance agitated for the removal of the death penalty for habitual traffic offenders. They would be opposed, but they would win.larry niven: Ch. 1 : The Ramrobot
I watched my life fade-away in a flashA quarter of a century dash through closets full of candles with never a roomFor rapture through a kingdom had been captured.And so I turn away from my drizzling furniture and pass old ladiesSniffling by movie stars' tombs, yes I must be home again soon.To face the unspoken unguarded thoughts of habitual heartsA vanguard of electricians a village full of tartsWho say you must protest you must protestIt is your diamond duty…Ah but in such an ugly time the true protest is beautyAnd the bleeding seer crawled from the ruins of the empireAnd stood bleeding, bleeding on the borderHe said, passion has led to chaos and now chaos will lead to order.Oh I have been away for a while and I hope to be back again soon.phil ochs: Liner notes; part of this statement is often paraphrased "In such ugly times, the only true protest is beauty."
I am 36 years old and I have been a criminal all of my life. I have 11 felony convictions against me. I have served 20 years of my life in Jails, Reform Schools and prisons. I know why I am a criminal. Others may have different theories as to my life but I have no theory about it. I know the facts. If any man ever was a habitual criminal. I am one. In my lifetime I have broken every law that was ever made by both Man and God. If either had made more, I should cheerfully have broken them also. The mere fact that I have done these things is quite sufficient for the average person. Very few peopel ever consider it worth while to wonder why I am what I am and do what I do. All that they think it is necessary to do is to catch me, try me convict me and send me to prison for a few years, make life miserable for me while in prison and then turn me loose again. That is the system that is in practice today in this country. The consequences are that such that any one and every one can see. crime and lots of it. Those who are sincere in thier desire to put down crime, are to be pitied for all of thier efforts which accomplish so little in the desired direction. They are the ones who are decieved by thier own ignorance and by the trickery and greed of others who profit the most by crime. [sic]carl panzram: Lustmord: The Writings and Artifacts of Murderers, p. 187, (1997), Brian King, ed. ISBN 096503240X
Unlike private enterprise which quickly modifies its actions to meet emergencies — unlike the shopkeeper who promptly finds the wherewith to satisfy a sudden demand — unlike the railway company which doubles its trains to carry a special influx of passengers; the law-made instrumentality lumbers on under all varieties of circumstances at its habitual rate. By its very nature it is fitted only for average requirements, and inevitably fails under unusual requirements.Herbert Spencer: Vol. 3, Ch. VII, Over-Legislation.
Man's new sense of pity began to interfere with the ruthless workings of nature. The only method compatible with our notions of civilization and the race is to prevent the breeding of the unfit by sterilization and the deliberate guidance of the mating instinct. The trend of opinion among eugenists is that we must make marriage more difficult. Certainly no one who is not a desirable parent should be permitted to produce progeny. A century from now it will no more occur to a normal person to mate with a person eugenically unfit than to marry a habitual criminal.nikola tesla: As quoted in "A Machine to End War - A Famous Inventor, Picturing Life 100 Years from Now, Reveals an Astounding Scientific Venture Which He Believes Will Change the Course of History" by George Sylvester Viereck in Liberty (February 1937)
Sometimes even in the habitual course of life, the reality of this world disappears all at once, and we feel ourselves in the middle of its interests as we should at a ball, where we did not hear the music; the dancing that we saw there would appear insane.Germaine de Staël, De l'Allemagne (1813) Information gathered from the Quote Investigator.
There may be such a thing as habitual luck. People who are said to be lucky at cards probably have certain hidden talents for those games in which skill plays a role. It is like hidden parameters in physics, this ability that does not surface and that I like to call "habitual luck".stanislaw ulam: Chapter 6, Transition And Crisis, p. 119
The latter-day outcome of this evolution of an archaic institution, the wife, who was at the outset the drudge and chattel of the man... has become the ceremonial consumer of goods which he produces. But she still quite unmistakably remains his chattel in theory; for the habitual rendering of vicarious leisure and consumption is the abiding mark of the unfree servant.thorstein veblen: p.83 (The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899))
A standard of living is of the nature of habit. ...it acts almost solely to prevent recession from a scale of conspicuous expenditure that has once become habitual.thorstein veblen: p.106 (The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899))
Friendship in the Greek tradition, in the Roman tradition, in the old tradition, was always viewed as the highest point which virtue can reach. Virtue, meaning here, "the habitual facility of doing the good thing," which is fostered by what the Greeks called politaea , political life, community life. I know it was a political life in which I wouldn't have liked to participate, with the slaves around and with the women excluded, but I still have to go to Plato or to Cicero . They conceived of friendship as a supreme flowering, of the interaction which happens in a good political society.Ivan Illich, We the People interview (1996)
Bad luck is usually transmitted by close proximity to habitual sufferers.Irvine Welsh: The narrator talking about Ange after they are released from prison.
It is my thesis that the physical functioning of the living individual and the operation of some of the newer communication machines are precisely parallel in their analogous attempts to control entropy through feedback. Both of them have sensory receptors as one stage in their cycle of operation: that is, in both of them there exists a special apparatus for collecting information from the outer world at low energy levels, and for making it available in the operation of the individual or of the machine. In both cases these external messages are not taken neat, but through the internal transforming powers of the apparatus, whether it be alive or dead. The information is then turned into a new form available for the further stages of performance. In both the animal and the machine this performance is made to be effective on the outer world. In both of them, their performed action on the outer world, and not merely their intended action, is reported back to the central regulatory apparatus. This complex of behavior is ignored by the average man, and in particular does not play the role that it should in our habitual analysis of society; for just as individual physical responses may be seen from this point of view, so may the organic responses of society itself. I do not mean that the sociologist is unaware of the existence and complex nature of communications in society, but until recently he has tended to overlook the extent to which they are the cement which binds its fabric together.Norbert Wiener: p. 26-27 as cited in: Felix Geyer, Johannes van der Zouwen, (1994) "Norbert Wiener and the Social Sciences", Kybernetes, Vol. 23 Iss: 6/7, pp.46 - 61
Whatever you would make habitual, practice it; and if you would not make a thing habitual, do not practice it, but accustom yourself to something else.Book II, ch. 18. (Discourses)