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Mediocrity

  • ... we have been drowning in mediocrity for too many years.

  • 'Mediocrity' does not mean an average intelligence; it means an average intelligence that resents and envies its betters.

    • Ayn Rand,
    • The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution ()
  • ... he was a rather commonplace youth at bottom, with more behavior than brains. In a democracy, and perhaps anywhere else, it was safer to be average.

  • What depresses me is the inevitable way the second rate forges ahead and the deserving is left behind.

  • I shouldn't mind it if I saw the admirable sweep on to success, or immortality, but always it seems to be the ordinary, the vulgar, and the average, or the lower average, that triumphs. Nothing would astonish me, after all these years, except to be understood.

  • Mediocrity is perhaps due not so much to lack of imagination as to lack of faith in the imagination, lack of the capacity for this abandon.

  • This Western culture of ours tends to sacrifice the full range of experience to a lower common denominator that's acceptable to more people; we end up with McDonald's instead of real food, Holiday Inns instead of homes, and USA Today instead of news and cultural analysis. And we do that with the rest of our lives.

  • ... Public Opinion, this invisible, intangible, omnipresent, despotic tyrant; this thousand-headed Hydra — the more dangerous for being composed of individual mediocrities ...

  • The good is the greatest rival of the best.

  • Mediocrity is gonna kill the world before Armageddon ever does.

  • But none of us wants to be average. That we are so is a melancholy fact borne in upon us in middle life, and we do not always relish it.

  • ... they lived a comfortable humdrum life, conscious of no higher existence. Doubtless they were quite happy — and so are oysters!

  • Mediocrity is safe.

    • Nikki Giovanni,
    • in Claudia Tate, ed., Black Women Writers at Work ()
  • To me, the only sin is mediocrity.

    • Martha Graham,
    • in "Martha Graham Reflects on Her Art and a Life in Dance," The New York Times ()
  • That's one of the compensations for being mediocre. One doesn't have to worry about becoming mediocre.

  • And if you have to make mistakes, make them good and big, don't be middling in anything if you can help it.

  • Most of the men or women who have contributed to our civilization or our culture have been vilified in their day. ... As we denounce the rebellious, the nonconformists, so we reward mediocrity so long as it mirrors herd standards.

  • Banality is a terribly likely consequence of the underuse of a good mind.

  • ... I worry about being a success in a mediocre world.