The Personalist Project

The passion for distinction

There is none among them [i.e. the passions with which nature has furnished men] more essential or remarkable, than the passion for distinction. A desire to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, beloved, and admired by his fellows, is one of the earliest, as well as keenest dispositions discovered in the heart of man. … Wherever men, women, or children, are to be found, whether they be old or young, rich or poor, high or low, wise or foolish, ignorant or learned, every individual is seen to be strongly actuated by a desire to be seen, heard, talked of, approved and respected. … To be wholly overlooked, and to know it, are intolerable

John Adams, Discourses on Davilla