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"I am not made like any of those I have seen. I venture to believe that I am not made like any of those who are in existence. If I am not better, at least I am different."

— Rousseau

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"It is knowledge that influences and equalizes the social condition of man; that gives to all, however different their political position, passions which are in common, and enjoyments which are universal."

— Benjamin Disraeli

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"An intolerant sect has no right to complain when it is denied an equal liberty….A person’s right to complain is limited to principles he acknowledges himself."

— John Rawls

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"Men have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egotist in the absolute sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge, or act. These are functions of the self."

— Ayn Rand

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"He is a fool who looks at the fruit of lofty trees, but does not measure their height."

— Quintus Curtius Rufus

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"This is our chief bane, that we live not according to the light of reason, but after the fashion of others."

— Seneca

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"Enlightenment is man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one’s intelligence without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused if it is not caused by lack of intelligence, but by lack of determination and courage to use one’s intelligence without being guided by another. Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own intelligence! is therefore the motto of the enlightenment."

— Kant

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"We are so created that without something to wonder at we should find life scarcely worth living. That fact does not make ignorance bliss, or make it ‘folly to be wise.’ For the wisest man never gets beyond the reach of novelty, nor can ever make it his boast that there is nothing he is ignorant of; on the contrary, the wiser he becomes the more clearly he sees how much there is of which he remains in ignorance. The more he knows, the more he will find to wonder at."

— Houdini

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"Logic takes care of itself; all we have to do is to look and see how it does it."

— Ludwig Wittgenstein

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"Freedom is the alone unoriginated birthright of man, and belongs to him by force of his humanity; and is independence on the will and co-action of every other in so far as this consists with every other person’s freedom."

— Kant

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"Every contribution to human progress on record has been made by some individual who differed sharply from the general, and was thus, almost ipso facto, superior to the general. Perhaps the palpably insane must be excepted here, but I can think of no others. Such exceptional individuals should be permitted, it seems to me, to enjoy every advantage that goes with their superiority.
[…]
Who are A’s betters? They are all persons whom he envies, and with whom he would willingly change places. The essence of the superior man is that he is free of such envy. Conscious of his capacity to survive and prosper within his own field, he has no desire to change places with anyone else, and hence he is incapable of envying anyone else. Thus he is inevitably a bad democrat, for democracy as a practical matter is based mainly and perhaps almost wholly on envy."

— H.L. Mencken

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"You see now how little nature requires to be satisfied. Felicity, the companion of content, is rather found in our own breasts than in the enjoyment of external things; And I firmly believe it requires but a little philosophy to make a man happy in whatsoever state he is. This consists in a full resignation to the will of Providence; and a resigned soul finds pleasure in a path strewed with briars and thorns."

— Daniel Boone

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"Valor grows by daring, fear by holding back."

— Publilius Syrus

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"Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts."

— Aristotle

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"At the root of our civilization, there is the freedom of each person of thought, of belief, of opinion, of work, of leisure."

— Charles de Gaulle