Quotes by Allen Wheelis

"One can often recognize herd animals by their tendency to carry bibles."
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"Certainty is not to be had. But as we learn this we become not more moral but more resigned. We become nihilists."
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"The sequence is suffering, insight, will, action, change."
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"One theft, however, does not make a thief . . Action which defines a man, describes his character, is action which has been repeated over and over and so has come in time to be a coherent and relatively independent mode of behavior. At first it may have been fumbling and uncertain, may have required attention, effort, will - as when first drives a car, first makes love, first robs a bank, first stands up against injustice.

If one perseveres on any such course it comes in time to require less effort, less attention, begins to function smoothly; its small component behaviors become integrated within a larger pattern which has an ongoing dynamism and cohesiveness, carries its own authority. Such a mode then pervades the entire person, permeates other modes, colors other qualities, in some sense is living and operative even when the action is not being performed, or even considered. . . .

Such a mode of action tends to maintain itself, to resist change. A thief is one who steals; stealing extends and reinforces the identity of a thief, which generates further thefts, which further strengthen and deepen the identity. So long as one lives, change is possible; but the longer such behavior is continued the more force and authority it acquires, the more it permeates other constant bodes, subordinates other conflicting modes; changing back becomes steadily more difficult; settling down to an honest job, living on one's earnings becomes ever more unlikely. And what is said here of stealing applies equally to courage, cowardice, creativity . . . or any other of the myriad ways of behaving, and hence of being."
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"Desire is endless and unappeasable, is most intense where most forbidden, and is never far from despair."
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Allen Wheelis
  • Allen Wheelis

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