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Blaise Pascal

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If, being duke and peer, you would not be contented with my standing uncovered before you, but should also wish that I should esteem you, I should ask you to show me the qualities that merit my esteem. If you did this, you would gain it, and I could not refuse it to you with justice; but if you did not do it, you would be unjust to demand it of me; and assuredly you would not succeed, were you the greatest prince in the world.

Blaise Pascal

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"In order to have any sense of control over our own life, we need to know that we’re able to make sense out of our experience, in all of its many aspects. It’s the need that religion addresses, that philosophy addresses... if you have a moral code that you do your best to live up to, other things being equal, it’s very positive in its consequences for your self esteem, even if the moral code is in some ways mistaken. If you conscientiously try to live it to the best of your ability, that would have a salutary effect on your self-esteem. If you violate it, it would have a negative effect on your self-esteem. But suppose you have nothing to violate, no worldview—that absence will limit your self-esteem, because you need to feel aligned with reality. You need feel that you are in appropriate contact with the real world. Now your theory of what the real world is might be right or wrong. But so long as you are able to believe that you are in contact with the real world and are acting on that knowledge, your self-esteem benefits... Regardless, upsetting as it may be to orthodox Objectivists, I think you can show that in the short run and in [a coerced] environment, a person who has some overarching faith has a better chance of surviving. But I wouldn’t explain that all away by saying ignorance is bliss. The point is to understand what function a belief system provides. Then you can understand why an imperfect one is sometimes beneficial"

Nathaniel Branden

The chief ingredients in the composition of those qualities that gain esteem and praise, are good nature, truth, good sense, and good breeding.

Joseph Addison

We are fools to depend upon the society of our fellow-men. Wretched as we are, powerless as we are, they will not aid us; we shall die alone. We should therefore act as if we were alone, and in that case should we build fine houses, etc.? We should seek the truth without hesitation; and, if we refuse it, we show that we value the esteem of men more than the search for truth. 211

Blaise Pascal

It was one of the deadliest and heaviest feelings of my life to feel that I was no longer a boy. From that moment I began to grow old in my own esteem — and in my esteem age is not estimable.

Anatole France

Eminence without merit earns deference without esteem.

Nicolas Chamfort
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