Quotes on Complacency
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Virtue and Vice

726. Complacency; Happiness
"He that is happy, by whatever means, desires nothing but the continuance of happiness."
Johnson: Idler #18 (August 12, 1758)

859. Complacency; Excellence
"What is easy is seldom excellent."
Johnson: Pope (Lives of the Poets)

977. Attention; Complacency; Delusion
"There is nothing more fatal to a man whose business is to think than to have learned the art of regaling his mind with ... airy gratifications. Other vices or follies are restrained by fear, reformed by admonition, or rejected by the conviction which the comparison of our conduct with that of others may in time produce. But this invisible riot of the mind, this secret prodigality of being, is secure from detection and fearless of reproach. The dreamer retires to his apartments, shuts out the cares and interruptions of mankind, and abandons himself to his own fancy; new worlds rise up before him, one image is followed by another, and a long succession of delights dances around him. He is at last called back to life by nature or by custom; and enters peevish into society, because he cannot model it to his own will."
Johnson: Rambler #89 (January 22, 1751)

1,110. Complacency; Diligence; Praise; Success
"It frequently happens that applause abates diligence. Whosoever finds himself to have performed more than was demanded will be contented to spare the labour of unnecessary performances, and sit down to enjoy at ease his superfluities of honour. He whom success has made confident of his abilities quickly claims the privilege of negligence, and looks contemptuously on the gradual advances of a rival, whom he imagines himself able to leave behind whenever he shall again summon his force to the contest. But long intervals of pleasure dissipate attention and weaken constancy; nor is it easy for him that has sunk from diligence into sloth to rouse out of his lethargy, to recollect his notions, rekindle his curiosity, and engage with his former ardour in the toils of his study."
Johnson: Rambler #111 (April 9, 1751)

1,112. Complacency; Diligence
"A thousand beauties in their first blossom, by an imprudent exposure to the open world, have suddenly withered at the blast of infamy; and men who might have subjected new regions to the empire of learning, have been lured by the praise of their first productions from academical retirement, and wasted their days in vice and dependance. The virgin who too soon aspires to celebrity and conquest perishes by childish vanity, ignorant credulity, or guiltless indiscretion. The genius who catches at laurels and preferment before his time, mocks the hopes that he had excited, and loses those years which might have been most usefully employed; the years of youth, of spirit, and vivacity."
Johnson: Rambler #111 (April 9, 1751)

1,270. Ambition; Complacency; Flattery
"The mischief of flattery is, not that it persuades any man that he is what he is not, but that it suppresses the influence of honest ambition, by raising an opinion that honour may be gained without the toil of merit."
Johnson: Rambler #155 (September 10, 1751)

1,598. Life; Complacency; Effort
"To strive with difficulties, and to conquer them, is the highest human felicity; the next is, to strive, and deserve to conquer: but he whose life has passed without a contest, and who can boast neither success nor merit, can survey himself only as a useless filler of existence; ad if he is content with his own character, must owe his satisfaction to insensibility."
Johnson: Adventurer #111 (November 27, 1753)

1,649. Complacency; Satisfaction
"In order to the right conduct of our lives, we must remember, that we are not born to please ourselves. He that studies simply his own satisfaction, will always find the proper business of his station too hard or easy for him."
Johnson: Adventurer #128 (January 26, 1754)

1,729. Complacency; Corruption
"Nothing is more fatal to happiness or virtue, than that confidence which flatters us with an opinion of our own strength, and, by assuring us of the power of retreat, precipitates us into hazard."
Johnson: Idler #52 (April 14, 1759)

1,766. Complacency; Ego Defenses; Vanity
"Vanity inclines us to find faults any where rather than in ourselves."
Johnson: Idler #70 (August 18, 1759)


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