What is the meaning of ‘gossip?’ Doesn’t it originate with sympathy, an interest in one’s neighbor, degenerating into idle curiosity and love of tattling? Which is worse, this habit, or keeping one’s self so absorbed intellectually as to forget the sufferings and cares of others, to lose sympathy through having too much to think about?
The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit.
Reasonable orders are easy enough to obey; it is capricious, bureaucratic or plain idiotic demands that form the habit of discipline.
Natural Selection never made it come to pass, as a habit of nature, that an unsupported stone should move downwards rather than upwards. It applies to no part of inorganic nature, and is very limited even in the phenomena of organic life.
When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides, a man who is in the habit of reasoning will search for logical grounds in favour of the belief which he finds in himself.
In a few decades of reconstruction, even the mathematical natural sciences, the ancient archetypes of theoretical perfection, have changed habit completely!
We have seen from experience that, if we are in the habit of walking regularly on the same road, we are able to think about other things while walking, without paying attention to our steps.
Nothing seems to me so likely to make people unhappy in themselves and at variance with others as the habit of killing time.
A habit leads a man so gently in the beginning that he does not perceive he is led – with what silken threads and down what pleasant avenues it leads him! By and by, the soft silk threads become iron chains, and the pleasant avenues Avernus!
Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.