Ruth Benedict

(1887_1948 / New York City, New York)

Ruth Benedict Quotes

  • ''If we justify war, it is because all peoples always justify the traits of which they find themselves possessed, not because war will bear an objective examination of its merits.''
    Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), U.S. anthropologist. Patterns of Culture, ch. 1 (1934).
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  • ''No man ever looks at the world with pristine eyes. He sees it edited by a definite set of customs and institutions and ways of thinking.''
    Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), U.S. anthropologist. Patterns of Culture, ch. 1 (1934).
  • ''Racism is an ism to which everyone in the world today is exposed; for or against, we must take sides. And the history of the future will differ according to the decision which we make.''
    Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), U.S. anthropologist. Race: Science and Politics, ch. 1 (1940).
  • ''A man's indebtedness ... is not virtue; his repayment is. Virtue begins when he dedicates himself actively to the job of gratitude.''
    Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), U.S. anthropologist. The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, ch. 6 (1946).
  • ''The adequate study of culture, our own and those on the opposite side of the globe, can press on to fulfillment only as we learn today from the humanities as well as from the scientists.''
    Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), U.S. anthropologist. An Anthropologist at Work, part 5 (1959). From the conclusion of "Anthropology and the Humanities," the address that she gave in December 1947 as Retiring President of the American Anthropological Association.
  • ''... oh, I long to prove myself by writing! The best seems to die in me when I give it up. It is the self I love—not this efficient, philanthropic self.''
    Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), U.S. anthropologist. An Anthropologist at Work, part 2 (1959). From a May 1917 entry in her journal. At the time, she was doing social work, struggling over a series of biographical sketches of famous women, and longing to be recognized for her verse. She would later become an important anthropologist, known for her scientific writing.
  • ''The happiest excitement in life is to be convinced that one is fighting for all one is worth on behalf of some clearly seen and deeply felt good, and against some greatly scorned evil.''
    Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), U.S. anthropologist. An Anthropologist at Work, part 2 (1959). Written c. the early 1920s.
  • ''The arrogance of race prejudice is an arrogance which defies what is scientifically known of human races.''
    Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), U.S. anthropologist. "Recognition of Cultural Diversities in the Postwar World." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (July 1943). An Anthropologist at Work, part 5 (1959).
  • ''Success and failure in our own national economy will hang upon the degree to which we are able to work with races and nations whose social order and whose behavior and attitudes are strange to us.''
    Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), U.S. anthropologist. "Recognition of Cultural Diversities in the Postwar World." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (July 1943). An Anthropologist at Work, part 5 (1959).
  • ''The trouble with life isn't that there is no answer, it's that there are so many answers.''
    Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), U.S. anthropologist. An Anthropologist at Work, part 2 (1959). Written in her journal on January 7, 1913.

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