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Quotations about Prosperity

The human race has had long experience and a fine tradition in surviving adversity. Many of the virtues we praise, and the distilled wisdom we venerate, relate to the survival of adversity. But we now face, as Thomas Nixon Carver pointed out, a task for which we have but little experience or tradition, namely, the task of surviving prosperity. ~Alan Gregg, "How dear is life?," Challenges to Contemporary Medicine, 1956

And when I pray my prayer of thankfulness, it shall be that I had only poverty to overcome. I have seen him who must overcome wealth. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant. ~Horace

The world of adversity maintains the world of prosperity. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

The world of prosperity maintains the world of adversity. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Prosperity is the nurse of ill temper. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

Prosperity is ever providing itself with anxieties. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

Fortune's Favors can be cruel;
Fires are choked by Too Much Fuel.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Human Phenomena," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

A prosperous worthlessness is the curse of high life. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

It is the poor years that make the good ones so very good, and poverty has always what wealth has not, betterment ahead. I do not know how one can be a blinder fool than to think that prosperity alone can make him happy... ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "An Old-Time Thanksgiving," 1904

Men can bear all things except good days. ~Dutch Proverb  [Quoted in Henry G. Bohn, A Polyglot of Foreign Proverbs comprising French, Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and Danish, with English Translations, 1857 —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

And why are you so firmly, so triumphantly convinced that only the normal and the positive — in short, only prosperity — is to the advantage of man?... After all, perhaps man likes something besides prosperity? Perhaps he likes suffering just as much? Perhaps suffering is just as great an advantage to him as prosperity? Man is sometimes fearfully, passionately in love with suffering and that is a fact. There is no need to appeal to universal history to prove that; only ask yourself, if only you are a man and have lived at all. As far as my own personal opinion is concerned, to care only for prosperity seems to me somehow even ill-bred. Whether it's good or bad, it is sometimes very pleasant to smash things, too. After all, I do not really insist on suffering or on prosperity either. I insist on my caprice, and its being guaranteed to me when necessary. ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky, "Notes from Underground," 1864, translated by Ralph E. Matlaw, 1959

And tell me... what have you in these houses? And what is it you guard with fastened doors? Have you peace... Have you remembrances... Have you beauty... Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master? ~Khalil Gibran (1883–1931)

We must master our good fortune, or it will master us. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

Affluenza, n.  the unhealthy and unwelcome psychological and social effects of affluence regarded especially as a widespread societal problem: such as, a: feelings of guilt, lack of motivation, and social isolation experienced by wealthy people; b: extreme materialism and consumerism associated with the pursuit of wealth and success and resulting in a life of chronic dissatisfaction, debt, overwork, stress, and impaired relationships. Etymology: blend of 'affluence' and 'influenza.'  History: first known use 1973.

      There was a time when America was a thrifty nation. Those were the days of Benjamin Franklin and our Colonial forefathers... But in the days that followed, easier times came... and today we are recognized throughout the world as the most thriftless nation among the great powers... Want, waste, and extravagance must cease, — by teaching thrift.
      Looking down the long vista of years ahead of us in America, we are bound to have many prosperous periods. We are so rich, so strong, so young. We have so many advantages over the older nations. But even with the prospect of a golden era of peace lying before us, with the assumption that the wheels of industry will continue to turn, that we shall be continuously blessed with bountiful crops, that our population will increase, that our cities will build, and will grow even more wonderful, and the barren places be taken up for occupation — even with the assumption of all these things, are we sure that our children, and our children's children will be prepared for the temptations that will come with these unfoldings of time? Weakness is begot of the pamperings of opulence...
      And whether we have prosperity or adversity, it is necessary that we have thrift. We must begin at the foundation. The nation of tomorrow will be made up of the children in schoolrooms today. We must teach them thrift in the home and in the schoolroom. If we teach them the ways of thrift today, they will be individually prepared when they become the blood and fiber, the bone and sinew, of the United States of America. ~S. W. Straus, "Thrift — An Educational Necessity," 1916  [a little altered —tg]

There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity. No man knows what the wife of his bosom is — no man knows what a ministering angel she is — until he has gone with her through the fiery trials of this world. ~Washington Irving, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., 1820

But it is generally agreed that few men are made better by affluence or exaltation; and that the powers of the mind, when they are unbound and expanded by the sunshine of felicity, more frequently luxuriate into follies than blossom into goodness. ~Samuel Johnson

As prosperity is promoted, thinking is demoted. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

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