Quotes about Conflict & Fighting
“I don’t know what will be used in the next world war, but the 4th will be fought with stones.”
“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“Your thought sees power in armies, cannons, battleships, submarines, aeroplanes, and poison gas. But mine asserts that power lies in reason, resolution, and truth. No matter how long the tyrant endures, he will be the loser at the end. Your thought differentiates between pragmatist and idealist, between the part and the whole, between the mystic and materialist. Mine realizes that life is one and its weights, measures and tables do not coincide with your weights, measures and tables. He whom you suppose an idealist may be a practical man.”
– Khalil Gibran, Your Thought and Mine
“Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. He wins battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty for victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.”
“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.”
– Dennis Wholey about conflict
“Cruelty and intolerance to those who do not belong to it are natural to every religion.”
– Sigmund Freud, as quoted in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921)
“I learned that the world didn’t see the inside of you, that it didn’t care a whit about the hopes and dreams, and sorrows that lay masked by skin and bone. It was simple, as absurd and as cruel as that.”
– Khalaed Hosseini, And The Mountains Echoed
“More and more I come to value charity and love of one’s fellow being above everything else…All our lauded technological progress-our very civilization-is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal.”
The single clenched fist lifted and ready,
Or the open hand held out and waiting,
For we meet by one or the other.”
– Carl Sandburg
“Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using force, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
“Hence, to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy’s plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of enemy forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field; and the worst of all is to besiege walled cities.”
“Conflict is not the mere contention between friend and foe. Rather friend and foe duel as one against the antagonizer known as fear.”
-Unknown about Conflict
“He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,
And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere.”
– Ali ibn-Abi-Talib about conflict in A Hundred Sayings
“The shaft of the arrow had been feathered with one of the eagle’s own plumes. We often give our enemies the means of our own destruction.”
– Aesop The Eagle and the Arrow
“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.”
– Ayn Rand about Conflict, Atlas Shrugged
“I have always found it odd that people who think passive aggressively ignoring a person is making a point to them. The only point it makes to anyone is your inability to articulate your point of view because deep down you know you can’t win. It’s better to assert yourself and tell the person you are moving on without them and why, rather than leave a lasting impression of cowardness on your part in a person’s mind by avoiding them.”
― Shannon L. Alder about Conflict
“Thus we may know there are five essentials for victory:
- He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight
- He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces
- He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks
- He will win who prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared
- He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.
“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
– Mahatma Gandhi, on Conflict
“We can come to look upon the deaths of our enemies with as much regret as we feel for those of our friends, namely, when we miss their existence as witnesses to our success.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer, as quoted in Counsels and Maxims, Vol. 2, Ch. 26, sect. 311a
“Self-culture has been loudly and boastfully proclaimed as sufficient for all our ideals of perfection. But if we listen to the best men and women everywhere … they will say that science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.”
– Helen Keller, My Religion / Light in My Darkness
“Why is it that in this day and age, human beings still butcher one another simply because they dared to belong to different religions, to speak different tongues, or belong to different races? Are human beings inherently evil? What infuses individuals with the ego and ambition to so clamour for power that genocide assumes the mantle of means that justify coveted ends? These are difficult questions, which, if wrongly examined can lead one to lose faith in fellow human beings. And there is where we would go wrong. Firstly, because to lose faith in fellow humans is, as the Archbishop would correctly point out, to lose faith in God and in the purpose of life itself. Secondly, it is erroneous to attribute to the human character a universal trait it does not possess – that of being either inherently evil or inherently humane. I would venture to say that there is something inherently good in all human beings, deriving from, among other things, the attribute of social consciousness that we all possess. And, yes, there is also something inherently bad in all of us, flesh and blood as we are, with the attendant desire to perpetuate and pamper the self. From this premise arises the challenge to order our lives and mould our mores in such a way that the good in all of us takes precedence. In other words, we are not passive and hapless souls waiting for manna or the plague from on high. All of us have a role to play in shaping society.”
– Nelson Mandela about Conflict, At his speech in Moria, on 3 April 1994
“There is a possibility in human minds of something mysterious as the night-wind, deep as the sea, calm as the stars, and strong as Death, a mystic contemplation, the “intellectual love of God.” Those who have known it cannot believe in wars any longer, or in any kind of hot struggle. If I could give to others what has come to me in this way, I could make them too feel the futility of fighting. But I do not know how to communicate it: when I speak, they stare, applaud, or smile, but do not understand.”
– Bertrand Russell, about conflict as quoted in Letter to Miss Rinder, July 30, 1918
“Evils draw men together.”
– Aristotle, as quoted in Economics
“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
“Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ”
– Paulo Freire about conflict
“I believe that Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men in our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence in fighting for our cause, but by non-participation in anything you believe is evil.”
“The man who refuses to judge, who neither agrees nor disagrees, who declares that there are no absolutes and believes that he escapes responsibility, is the man responsible for all the blood that is now spilled in the world. Reality is an absolute, existence is an absolute, a speck of dust is an absolute and so is a human life. Whether you live or die is an absolute. Whether you have a piece of bread or not, is an absolute. Whether you eat your bread or see it vanish into a looter’s stomach, is an absolute.
There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. The man who is wrong still retains some respect for truth, if only by accepting the responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who solves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromise is the transmitting rubber tube.”
“I am tired of people saying that poor character is the only reason people do wrong things. Actually, circumstances cause people to act a certain way. It’s from those circumstances that a person’s attitude is affected followed by weakening of character. Not the reverse. If we had no faults of our own, we should not take so much pleasure in noticing those in others and judging their lives as either black or white, good or bad. We all live our lives in shades of gray.”
― Shannon L. Alder about conflict
“If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”
– Charles Darwin, about conflict in Voyage of the Beagle
“My pacifism is an instinctive feeling, a feeling that possesses me because the murder of men is disgusting. My attitude is not derived from any intellectual theory but is based on my deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred.”
“Have you heard that it was good to gain the day? I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.”
– Walt Whitman
“I came back to a world in ruins.
Death, destruction, chaos – the endless fighting.
Things were worse than ever.
So I stopped it.
And I did it my way this time.
No more negotiating.
No more promises.
No more second chances.
And I did it alone. Because I had to.
And it worked.”
-Baron Klaus Von Wulfenbach