Quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Wood burns because it has the proper stuff in it and a man becomes famous because he has the proper stuff in him.
This quote suggests that just as wood burns because it contains the necessary energy to do so, a person becomes famous because they possess unique qualities or abilities. It implies that fame is not simply a result of luck or chance, but rather a result of one's inherent qualities and talents. Like wood, which needs flammable material to burn, a person needs specific traits or skills that set them apart and contribute to their recognition and acclaim.
If you asked twenty good men to-day what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love- You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point.
On page 605, Blumenthal says that 'I made friends with Hitchens's friends the novelists Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie.' True in its way. I particularly remember the occasion when he called me up and invited me to dinner with Dick Morris, but only on condition that I brought Rushdie (who was staying in my house) along with me. No Rushdie: no invitation. So I never did get to meet Dick Morris.