[Ads-l] Quote: We are all inclined to judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their acts

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 20 11:51:31 UTC 2015


A quotation trace/analysis for the statement in the subject line is
now available on the Quote Investigator website. There are two parts:

We Are Too Prone to Judge Ourselves by Our Ideals and Other People by Their Acts
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/03/19/judge-others/

We Judge Ourselves by What We Feel Capable of Doing, While Others
Judge Us by What We Have Already Done
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/03/17/judge-self/

The trace begins in 1836. Here is a summary of the shifting vocabulary:

    1836 motives / actions
    1885 intentions / doings
    1892 intentions / actions
    1909 motives / acts
    1915 intentions / performance
    1930 ideals / acts
    1932 ideals / deeds
    1932 intentions / acts
    1932 ideals / conduct
    1997 motives / behavior

Garson


On Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 1:09 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> The Yale Book of Quotations has the following saying attributed to the
> English politician Harold Nicolson based on a Readers Digest citation
> dated May 1936:
>
> [Begin quotation]
> We are all inclined to judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their acts.
> [End quotation]
>
> I was asked to trace this saying and found that some other works have
> assigned the words to the diplomat Dwight Morrow. Below is a revealing
> citation. Harold Nicolson wrote a 1935 biography of Morrow and
> Nicolson ascribed the adage to Morrow:
>
> [ref] 1975 (Copyright 1935), Dwight Morrow by Harold Nicolson, Quote
> Page 50 and 51, Series: Wall Street and the Security Markets,
> Published by Arno Press, New York. (Reprint of 1935 Harcourt, Brace
> and Company, New York edition) (Verified on paper)[/ref]
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> His magnanimity, again, was something more than a subjectively
> generous attitude towards life; it was a positive and energetic
> tolerance. "Remember," he would often repeat, "that we are all
> inclined to judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their acts."
> [End excerpt]
>
> I am still researching the saying. Here is a 1932 citation that credits Morrow:
>
> [ref] 1932 April, The Rattle of Theta Chi, Volume 20, Number 7, Has
> Faith in Youth, Start Page 20, Quote Page 20, (Report on speech by
> Seward Reese), Official Publication of Theta Chi Fraternity, Published
> in Athens, Ohio. (Google Books Full View)[/ref]
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> He believes that the critics of youth make the mistake of judging them
> by their attainments rather than their aims, and quotes the late
> Dwight Morrow:
>
> "The cause of intolerance and misunderstanding is that we judge
> ourselves by our ideals, and others by their deeds."
>
> "Let older people reverse the process," says Reese, "judging
> themselves by their actions, and students by their ideals, and it
> would end a lot of harsh criticism."
> [End excerpt]
>
> There are precursors in the 1800s including a line by the poet Henry
> Wadsworth Longfellow. An analysis will probably be posted on the Quote
> Investigator website in a week or two.
>
> Garson

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