Lois McMaster Bujold
His mother had often said, When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action. She had emphasized the corollary of this axiom even more vehemently: when you desired a consequence you had damned well better take the action that would create it.
A good friend of my son's is a son to me.
The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them.
My home is not a place, it is people.
The will to be stupid is a very powerful force, but there are always alternatives.
What you are is a question only you can answer.
How could you be a Great Man if history brought you no Great Events, or brought you to them at the wrong time, too young, too old?
Some prices are just too high, no matter how much you may want the prize. The one thing you can't trade for your heart's desire is your heart.
It was never what I wanted to buy that held my heart's hope. It was what I wanted to be.
I am who I choose to be. I always have been what I chose…though not always what I pleased.
It's important that someone celebrate our existence... People are the only mirror we have to see ourselves in. The domain of all meaning. All virtue, all evil, are contained only in people. There is none in the universe at large. Solitary confinement is a punishment in every human culture.
If you can't do what you want, do what you can.
I don't confuse greatness with perfection. To be great anyhow is…the higher achievement.
You couldn't be that good and not know it, somewhere in your secret heart, however much you'd been abused into affecting public humility.
You have to be careful who you let define your good.
When you give each other everything, it becomes an even trade. Each wins all.
Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.
Honesty is the only way with anyone, when you'll be so close as to be living inside each other's skins.
Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards.
A tactical retreat is not a bad response to a surprise assault, you know. First you survive. Then you choose your own ground. Then you counterattack.
A hundred objective measurements didn't sum the worth of a garden; only the delight of its users did that. Only the use made it mean something.
If power was an illusion, wasn't weakness necessarily one also?
There are always survivors at a massacre. Among the victors, if nowhere else.
I take it as a man's duty to restrain himself.
Some men just aren't cut out for paternity. Better they should realize it before and not after they become responsible for a son.
If you make it plain you like people, it's hard for them to resist liking you back.
If the truth doesn't save us, what does that say about us?
A weapon is a device for making your enemy change his mind.
If you want to catch something, running after it isn't always the best way.
Exile, for no other motive than ease, would be the last defeat, with no seed of future victory in it.
An honor is not diminished for being shared.
War is not its own end, except in some catastrophic slide into absolute damnation. It's peace that's wanted. Some better peace than the one you started with.
Experience suggests it doesn't matter so much how you got here, as what you do after you arrive.
Our children change us... whether they live or not.
Good soldiers never pass up a chance to eat or sleep. They never know how much they'll be called on to do before the next chance.
Suicidal glory is the luxury of the irresponsible. We're not giving up. We're waiting for a better opportunity to win.
Children might or might not be a blessing, but to create them and then fail them was surely damnation.
You try to give away what you want yourself.
...tests are a gift. And great tests are a great gift. To fail the test is a misfortune. But to refuse the test is to refuse the gift, and something worse, more irrevocable, than misfortune.
But pain... seems to me an insufficient reason not to embrace life. Being dead is quite painless. Pain, like time, is going to come on regardless. Question is, what glorious moments can you win from life in addition to the pain?
Adversity does teach who your real friends are.
I am an atheist, myself. A simple faith, but a great comfort to me, in these last days.
This sheaf of paper with gaudy cover glued to the spine is not the book. The book is not an object on the table, it is an event in the readers mind.... The book, therefore is only finished when someone reads it.
The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire is your heart.
All true wealth is biological.
When the souls rise up in glory, yours shall not be shunned nor sunderered, but shall be the prize of the gods' gardens. Even your darkness shall be treasured then, and all your pain made holy.
Since no one is perfect, it follows that all great deeds have been accomplished out of imperfection. Yet they were accomplished, somehow, all the same.
By their essential nature triumphs can't be given. They must be taken, and the worse the odds and the fiercer the resistance, the greater the honor. Victories can't be gifts.
You don't pay back your parents. You can't. The debt you owe them gets collected by your children, who hand it down in turn. It's a sort of entailment. Or if you don't have children of the body, it's left as a debt to your common humanity. Or to your God, if you possess or are possessed by one.
Never... ever suggest they don't have to pay you. What they pay for, they'll value. What they get for free, they'll take for granted, and then demand as a right. Hold them up for all the market will bear.
Any community's arm of force - military, police, security - needs people in it who can do necessary evil, and yet not be made evil by it. To do only the necessary and no more. To constantly question the assumptions, to stop the slide into atrocity.
Adulthood isn't an award they'll give you for being a good child. You can waste... years, trying to get someone to give that respect to you, as though it were a sort of promotion or raise in pay. If only you do enough, if only you are good enough. No. You have to just... take it. Give it to yourself, I suppose. Say, I'm sorry you feel like that and walk away. But that's hard.
If you're trying to take a roomful of people by surprise, it's a lot easier to hit your targets if you don't yell going through the door.