The Need to Exaggerate

Sunday, June 3, 2018 – The Need to Exaggerate

An element of exaggeration clings to the popular judgment: great vices are made greater, great virtues greater also; interesting incidents are made more interesting, softer legends more soft. ~ Walter Bagehot

Exaggeration is a blood relation to falsehood and nearly as blamable. ~ Hosea Ballou

Exaggeration is truth that has lost its temper. ~ Khalil Gibran

There are some people so addicted to exaggeration that they can’t tell the truth without lying. ~ Josh Billings

Some folks never exaggerate. They just remember big. ~ Chi-Chi Rodriguez

To exaggerate is to weaken. ~ Jean François de La Harpe

There is no one who does not exaggerate. In conversation, men are encumbered with personality, and talk too much. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every vice is only an exaggeration of a necessary and virtuous function. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Exaggeration is in the course of things. Nature sends no creature, no man into the world, without adding a small excess of his proper quality. Given the planet, it is still necessary to add the impulse; so, to every creature nature added a little violence of direction in its proper path, a shove to put it on its way; in every instance, a slight generosity, a drop too much. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

To a small man every greater man is an exaggeration. ~ Henry David Thoreau

How many may a man of diffusive conversation count among his acquaintances, whose lives have been signalized by numberless escapes; who never cross the river but in a storm, or take a journey into the country without more adventures than befell the knights-errant of ancient times in pathless forests or enchanted castles! How many must he know, to whom portents and prodigies are of daily occurrence; and for whom nature is hourly working wonders invisible to every other eye, only to supply them with subjects of conversation? ~ Samuel Johnson

Don’t, Sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little matters. ~ Samuel Johnson

Never exaggerate. It is a matter of great importance to forego superlatives, in part to avoid offending the truth, and in part to avoid cheapening your judgment. Exaggeration wastes distinction and testifies to the paucity of your understanding and taste. Praise excites anticipation and stimulates desire. Afterwards when value does not measure up to price, disappointment turns against the fraud and takes revenge by cheapening both the appraised and the appraiser. For this reason let the prudent go slowly, and err in understatement rather than overstatement. The extraordinary of every kind is always rare, wherefore temper your estimate. ~ Baltasar Gracián

People add color to their story because they think it happened in black and white. ~ Tawny Lara

Artists use frauds to make human beings seem more wonderful than they really are. Dancers show us human beings who move much more gracefully than human beings really move. Films and books and plays show us people talking much more entertainingly than people really talk, make paltry human enterprises seem important. Singers and musicians show us human beings making sounds far more lovely than human beings really make. Architects give us temples in which something marvelous is obviously going on. Actually, practically nothing is going on. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

It is only a short step from exaggerating what we can find in the world to exaggerating our power to remake the world. Expecting more novelty than there is, more greatness than there is, and more strangeness than there is, we imagine ourselves masters of a plastic universe. But a world we can shape to our will is a shapeless world. ~ Daniel J. Boorstin

Eschew the monumental. Shun the Epic. All the guys who can paint great big pictures can paint great small ones. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Pretense is the overrating of any kind of knowledge we pretend to. ~ Jonathan Swift

Exaggeration misleads the credulous and offends the perceptive. ~ Eliza Cook

All news is an exaggeration of life. ~ Daniel Schorr

Exaggeration of every kind is as essential to journalism as it is to dramatic art, for the object of journalism is to make events go as far as possible. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

By speaking, by thinking, we undertake to clarify things, and that forces us to exacerbate them, dislocate them, to schematize them. Every concept is in itself an exaggeration. ~ Jose Ortega y Gasset

All passions exaggerate; and they are passions only because they do exaggerate. ~ Nicolas Chamfort

Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Exaggeration, the inseparable companion of greatness! ~ Voltaire

Thought is a process of exaggeration. The refusal to exaggerate is not infrequently an alibi for the disinclination to think or praise. ~ Eric Hoffer

I regard it as a waste of time to think only of selling: one forgets one’s art and exaggerates one’s value. ~ Camille Pissarro

Resume: a written exaggeration of only the good things a person has done in the past, as well as a wish list of the qualities a person would like to have. ~ Bo Bennett

Never exaggerate your faults. Your friends will attend to that. ~ Bob Edwards

Long books, when read, are usually overpraised, because the reader wishes to convince others and himself that he has not wasted his time. ~ E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel

False eloquence is exaggeration; true eloquence is emphasis. ~ William R. Alger

Mysticism and exaggeration go together. A mystic must not fear ridicule if he is to push all the way to the limits of humility or the limits of delight. ~ Milan Kundera

It is human to exaggerate the merits of the dead. ~ Mark Twain

It is always the novice who exaggerates. ~ C. S. Lewis

Alcohol is perfectly consistent in its effects upon man. Drunkenness is merely an exaggeration. A foolish man drunk becomes maudlin; a bloody man, vicious; a coarse man, vulgar. ~ Willa Cather

At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far. ~ Muhammad Ali

Don’t be humble. You’re not that great. ~ Golda Meir

I am no more humble than my talents require. ~ Oscar Levant

The humble and meek are thirsting for blood. ~ Joe Orton