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Conventions

  • Traditions are group efforts to keep the unexpected from happening.

  • Conventions are like coins, an easy way of dealing with the commerce of relations.

  • Conventions which camouflage a man's true feelings are a spiritual lie which help him adapt himself to the organized deviations of society ...

  • Conventions, like clichés, have a way of surviving their own usefulness.

  • All adventuring is rash, and all innovations dangerous. But not nearly so dangerous as stagnation and dry rot. From grooves, cliques, clichés and resignation — Good Lord deliver us!

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • 1923, in Alice Holtby and Jean McWilliam, eds., Letters to a Friend ()
  • Society's the mother of convention.

  • I believe more follies are committed out of complaisance to the world, than in following our own inclinations — Nature is seldom in the wrong, custom always ...

  • I wonder what especial sanctity attaches itself to fifteen minutes. It is always the maximum and the minimum of time which will enable us to acquire languages, etiquette, personality, oratory ... One gathers that twelve minutes a day would be hopelessly inadequate, and twenty minutes a wasteful and ridiculous excess.

  • In business life, that is, in its material processes, we eagerly accept the new. In social life, in all our social processes, we piously, valiantly, obdurately, maintain the old.

  • Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.

  • Convention was our safeguard: could one have stronger?

  • I cannot write too much upon how necessary it is to be completely conservative that is particularly traditional in order to be free.

  • It's terrible to allow conventional habits to gain a hold on a whole household; to eat, sleep and live by clock ticks.

  • Conventionality is the tacit agreement to set appearances before reality, form before content ...

    • Ellen Key,
    • "The Conventional Woman," The Morality of Women ()
  • Fog and hypocrisy — that is to say, shadow, convention, decency — these were the very things that lent to London its poetry and romance.

  • I have tried and failed to lead a conventional life. When I try to be like other people, I fall out of bed.

  • Human beings tend to regard the conventions of their own societies as natural, often as sacred.

  • Convention is another name for the habits of society.

  • Traditions are the guideposts driven deep into our subconscious minds. The most powerful ones are those we can't even describe, aren't even aware of.

  • The conventions of society are all in the interests of morality. If you're conventional, you'll be good, in a negative sense, of course.

  • It saves trouble to be conventional, for you're not always explaining things.

  • ... a deviation from propriety scarcely ever escapes punishment.

  • An ounce of convention is worth a pound of explanation.

    • Ethel Watts Mumford,
    • in Oliver Herford, Ethel Watts Mumford, and Addison Mizner, The Complete Cynic ()
  • Society, by insisting on conventions, has merely insisted on certain convenient signs by which we may know that a man is considering, in daily life, the comfort of other people.

  • [Response to the prurient hotel clerk who called upstairs to inquire, while she was working late at night with George S. Kaufman on their new play, 'I beg your pardon, Miss Ferber, but is there a gentleman in your room?'] I don't know. Wait a minute and I'll ask him.

    • Edna Ferber,
    • in Margaret Case Harriman, The Vicious Circle: The Story of the Algonquin Round Table ()
  • And so is the world put back by the death of every one who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiar gifts (which were meant, not for selfish gratification, but for the improvement of that world) to conventionality.

  • Convention, so often a mask for injustice ...

  • Natural behavior, he concluded, was selfish behavior; a few well-chosen conventions were essential to human relationships ...