...I discovered that I could take a risk and survive. I could march in Philadelphia. I could go out in the street and be gay even in a dress or a skirt without getting shot. Each victory gave me courage for the next one.
(Martha Shelley, U.S. author and social activist. As quoted in Making History, part 3, by Eric Marcus (1992).
On the lessons learned and courage gained as a radical gay rights activist in the Gay Liberation Front of the 1960s.)
You take a number of small steps which you believe are right, thinking maybe tomorrow somebody will treat this as a dangerous provocation. And then you wait. If there is no reaction, you take another step: courage is only an accumulation of small steps.
(George Konrád (b. 1933), Hungarian writer, politician. Sunday Correspondent (London, April 1990).
On surviving as a writer in Communist Hungary.)
A good seat on a horse steals away your opponent's courage and your onlooker's heartwhat reason is there to attack? Sit like one who has conquered?
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 521, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Mixed Opinions and Maxims, aphorism 354, "The Victorious Seat," (1879).)
The report reflects incredibly terrible judgments, shockingly sparse concern for human life, instances of officials lacking the courage to exercise the responsibilities of their high office and some very bewildering thought processes.
(Jane Jarrell Smith, U.S. widow of American astronaut Michael J. Smith. As quoted in Newsweek magazine, p. 13 (June 30, 1986).
On the Rogers Commission report which described the circumstances surrounding the explosion of the Challenger, the American space shuttle on which her husband and the other six crew members were killed. As it turned out, the explosion was caused by faulty "O-ring" seals.)
Get it into your head once and for all, my simple and very fainthearted fellow, that what fools call humaneness is nothing but a weakness born of fear and egoism; that this chimerical virtue, enslaving only weak men, is unknown to those whose character is formed by stoicism, courage, and philosophy.
(Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), French author. Dolmancé, in "Dialogue the Seventh," Philosophy in the Bedroom (1795).)