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quotations about differences

All the lessons of psychiatry, psychology, social work, indeed culture, have taught us over the last hundred years that it is the acceptance of differences, not the search for similarities which enables people to relate to each other in their personal or family lives.

JOHN RALSTON SAUL, Reflection of a Siamese Twin

Being different is ... interesting; there's nothing implicitly inferior or superior about it. Great difference, of course, produces natural caution; and if the differences are too extreme ... well, then, reality tends to fade away.


It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse races.

MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

Most people can't understand how others can blow their noses differently than they do.

IVAN TURGENEV, quoted in 20,000 Quips & Quotes

Men equally honest, equally devoted to their fatherland, are momentarily separated by different conceptions of their duty.


You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note.

DOUG FLOYD, quoted in 1,600 Quotes & Pieces of Wisdom That Just Might Help You Out...

It seemed ... such nonsense -- inventing differences, when people, heaven knows, were different enough without that.

VIRGINIA WOOLF, To the Lighthouse

What’s Bagism? It’s like... a tag for what we all do, we’re all in a bag ya know, and we realised that we came from two bags, I was in this pop bag going round and round in my little clique, and she was in her little avant-garde clique going round and round, and you’re in your little tele clique and they’re in their...ya know? and we all sort of come out and look at each other every now and then, but we don’t communicate. And we all intellectualize about how there is no barrier between art, music, poetry... but we’re still all "I’m a rock and roller, he’s a poet" ... so we just came up with the word so you would ask us what bagism is, and we’d say "WE’RE ALL IN A BAG BABY!"

JOHN LENNON, The David Frost Show, Jun. 14, 1969

Imagine a world in which we saw beyond the lines that divide us, and celebrated our differences, instead of hiding from them. Imagine a world in which we finally recognized that, fundamentally, we are all the same. And imagine if we allowed that new understanding to build relations between people and between nations.

WESLEY CLARK, speech, Jan. 20, 2004

In places where men are used to differences they inevitably become tolerant.

WALTER LIPPMANN, The Stakes of Diplomacy

There is nothing like a sense of difference for getting a man lined up, shoulder to shoulder, with everybody as different as he is, in a dedicated campaign for the Common Good; which means a campaign either for the ramming of that difference down the throat of an ignorant and underprivileged and unholy world--this is only true, of course, in the case of a bona fide holy difference--or, at the other extreme, a campaign for the stamping out of the thing that caused the damned difference in the first place.

KEN KESEY, Sometimes a Great Notion

If men would once consider one another reasonably, they would either reconcile their differences, or more amicably maintain them.

WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude

I'm always astounded at the way we automatically look at what divides and separates us. We never look at what people have in common. If you see it, black and white people, both sides look to see the differences, they don't look at what they have together. Men and women, and old and young, and so on. And this is a disease of the mind, the way I see it. Because in actual fact, men and women have much more in common than they are separated.

DORIS LESSING, interview, Nov. 11, 1997

In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.

COCO CHANEL, Woman's Day Magazine, Feb. 17, 2010

If you want to be different nowadays, just act normal.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

It is remarkable that men, when they differ in what they think considerable, will be apt to differ in almost everything else; their difference begets contradiction; contradiction begets heat; heat quickly rises into resentment, rage, and ill-will; thus they differ in affections, as they differ in judgment.

CATO, attributed, Day's Collacon

The less the difference, the greater the quarrel over it.

CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought

If you hate difference, you'll be bored to death.

TOBA BETA, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

The difference between two men is usually a woman.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility. Not this "In order to love you, I must make you something else." That’s what domination is all about, that in order to be close to you, I must possess you, remake and recast you.

BELL HOOKS, Reel to Real

As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.

JAMES MADISON, The Federalist, 1787

We should be generous and liberal toward all persons who necessarily differ with us on unsettled questions.

T. L. BROWN, attributed, Day's Collacon

To think is to differ.

CLARENCE DARROW, remark during the Scopes "monkey" trial, Jul. 13, 1925

If you are different from the rest of the flock, they bite you.


As a young child, being different is isolating, and as a teenager it's humiliating. I wish I had been able to stand out with more confidence when I was a child, and especially when I was a teenager. I was different, but it wasn't always a conscious choice, and it often made me miserable. But I'm all grown up now, and so are you. Today, difference is your strength, your power, and your trademark. It's your signature. It can still be difficult to be different--sometimes even harder than it used to be. Even so, it's time to embrace being yourself. It's time to be authentic.


But every little difference may become a big one if it is insisted on.

VLADIMIR LENIN, "Paragraph One of the Rules", One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

There never was anything useful or great, about which men have not differed.

ORIGEN, attributed, Day's Collacon

Differences don't just threaten and divide us. They also inform, enrich, and enliven us.

HARRIET LERNER, The Dance of Connection

What has the straw to do with the wheat?


Our differences are only skin deep, but our sames go down to the bone.


The difference between us and other people is that their money looks bigger and their troubles smaller.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes


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