Conceit is to nature what paint is to beauty; it is not only needless, but impairs what it would improve
If you set your heart upon philosophy, you must straightway prepare yourself to be laughed at and mocked by many who will say Behold a philosopher arisen among us! or How came you by that brow of scorn? But do you cherish no scorn, but hold to those things which seem to you the best, as one set by God in that place. Remember too, that if you abide in those ways, those who first mocked you, the same shall afterwards reverence you; but if you yield to them, you will be laughed at twice as much as before.
So you wish to conquer in the Olympic games, my friend? And I too, by the Gods, and a fine thing it would be! But first mark the conditions and the consequences, and then set to work. You will have to put yourself under discipline; to eat by rule, to avoid cakes and sweetmeats; to take exercise at the appointed hour whether you like it or no, in cold and heat; to abstain from cold drinks and from wine at your will; in a word, to give yourself over to the trainer as to a physician. Then in the conflict itself you are likely enough to dislocate your wrist or twist your ankle, to swallow a great deal of dust, or to be severely thrashed, and, after all these things, to be defeated.
...gods, religions and national boundaries are absolutely imaginary. They don't tend to exist. As soon as you pull back half a mile and look down at the Earth there are no national boundaries. There aren't even national boundaries when you get down and walk around. They're just imaginary lines we draw on maps. I just get fascinated by people who assume that things that are imaginary have no relevance to their lives.