In ordinary society, everything is makebelief, pose, and pretense,
including the pretense that this is slander of ordinary men. The reason
is not that men are natural born liars and deceivers, but that, as men
usually are, it is much easier to become rich or a social success by
lies and deception than by truth or honesty.
There are very few socially
successful men who do not look down with deep disdain, distrust and
dislike upon those who donot wish to lie and deceive to make a career.
There would be far fewer great and evil men, if there were far fewer
willing executioners for them.
The great human problem does
not consist in the small minority of depraved leaders, but in the great
majority of depraved and eager followers.
Fame, wealth and status generally require the same sort of character to
reach them: In human society as it is and has been, the real bastards
are the most successful.
The great and the bad in any
society, especially in politics and religion, often are the same.
There are fair and independent judgments of men by men, but never if
self-interest or prejudice are involved, and this is the usual case.
Public opinion, like all opinion, deserves respect in just two kinds of
circumstances: When it is informed or rational, and when it is violent
Vanity is pleasure in what others believe that one is; pride is
pleasure in what one believes oneself that one is.
If you have wit and you are honest, the only way to make a career is on
the stage, as a buffoon or a comedian.
It is impossible to tell the
truth about men to most men without being much hated or despised by
them - not because they know that one lies, but because they know that
one speaks the truth about what they falsified in order to prosper
themselves: A hunchback also doesn't like to be called hunchback.
True human greatness generally requires lack of self-interest.
All power corrupts, because power enables one to avoid or repress all
honest discussion of one's weaknesses and faults.
It is impossible to be a public success without being a personal fraud.