Quotes for
the Journey:

Meanness


Malice drinks one half
of its own poison.

Seneca

   

Nothing is more unpleasant than a virtuous person with a mean mind.         -Walter Bagehot

   

Half of the harm that is done in this world Is due to people who want to feel important.       -T.S. Eliot

   
In my experience, meanness has been a symptom, not a state of being.  I've met very few truly mean people, and those I have met have also been rather miserable people.  Scrooge was mean, and Scrooge was very unhappy, miserable, even--pathetic.  But Scrooge changed, and he changed when he was shown just how his own actions were affecting other people's image of him.  They despised him, and Scrooge was truly unloved, a state I wouldn't wish on anyone.  But if meanness is a symptom, why do so few mean people get help?  Why don't they examine the problem that meanness is a symptom of, and then work on that problem?
    I believe that it's because being mean feels good in a certain way.  It's a powerful way of behaving that tends to make other people react in ways that they really wouldn't react otherwise.  Meanness is a method of domination, and it's a domination that has the cards stacked in your favor when you're mean, for so few people are willing (or even able) to react in kind when you're mean to them.  Redfield touches on the dynamic in The Celestine Prophecy, in the context of a power exchange.  The dominating person diminishes the power of the submitting person and therefore gains power him or herself; the mean person diminishes the power of the person he or she is being mean to and therefore gains that power.  It's a rush, almost like a drug--"look how I can make this person so uncomfortable."       -Tom Walsh
    
When you give a lesson in meanness to a critter or a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.     -Will Rogers

  
Sometimes you never feel meaner than the moment you stop being mean.  It's like how turning on a light makes you realize how dark the room had gotten. And the way you usually act, the things you would have normally done, are like these ghosts that everyone can see but pretends not to.     -Rebecca Stead
   
My mother says that when Mrs. Rowley is mean, which is generally the case, it is really because she is just unhappy, and who could blame her with a husband like that . . . She says this is really the only reason people are ever mean--they have something hurting inside of them, a claw of unhappiness scratching at their hearts, and it hurts them so much that sometimes they have to push it right out of their mouths to scratch someone else, just to give themselves a rest, a moment of relief.       -Laura Moriarty
   
It always seemed strange to me that the things we admire in people--kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling--are the concomitants of failure in our system.  And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success.  And while people admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.      -John Steinbeck
   
Money is the most important thing in the world. It represents health, strength, honor, generosity and beauty as conspicuously as the want of it represents illness, weakness, disgrace, meanness and ugliness.      -George Bernard Shaw
     
Some people have a necessity to be mean, as if they were exercising a faculty which they had to partially neglect since early childhood.      -F. Scott Fitzgerald
   

     

     

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