In considering any new subject, there is frequently a tendency, first, to overrate what we find to be already interesting or remarkable; and, secondly, by a sort of natural reaction, to undervalue the true state of the case, when we do discover that our notions have surpassed those that were really tenable
It's difficult because we tend to overrate the pain of failure. We fear it too much. That's research that emerges from psychology. We think it's going to be worse than it really is. And, I think, as we get a bit older, really after we leave school or college, we quickly stop experimenting.
If the blessings of our political and social condition have not been too highly estimated, we cannot well overrate the responsibility and duty which they impose upon us. We hold these institutions of government, religion, and learning, to be transmitted, as well as enjoyed. We are in the line of conveyance, through which whatever has been obtained by the spirit and efforts of our ancestors is to be communicated to our children.
I think that is just a limitation of any questionnaire - that we apply a frame of reference or standard. It's a well-known finding in psychology that when people are total beginners at a skill, they tend to overrate their skill level. They don't know what they don't know. The more expert you are, the more critical you become.
I think as individuals, people overrate the virtues of local food. Most of the energy consumption in our food system is not caused by transportation. Sometimes local food is more energy efficient. But often it's not. The strongest case for locavorism is to eat less that's flown on planes, and not to worry about boats.
I told that girl, in the kindest, gentlest way, that I could not consent to deliver judgment upon any one's manuscript, because an individual's verdict was worthless. It might underrate a work of high merit and lose it to the world, or it might overrate a trashy production and so open the way for its infliction upon the world. I said that the great public was the only tribunal competent to sit in judgment upon a literary effort, and therefore it must be best to lay it before that tribunal in the outset, since in the end it must stand or fall by that mighty court's decision any way.
If Shakespeare be considered as a MAN born in a rude age and educated in the lowest manner, without any instruction either from the world or from books, he may be regarded as a prodigy; if represented as a POET capable of furnishing a proper entertainment to a refined or intelligent audience, we must abate much of this eulogy. In his compositions, we regret that many irregularities, and even absurdities, should so frequently disfigure the animated and passionated scenes intermixed with them; and, at the same time, we perhaps admire the more those beauties on account of their being surrounded by such deformities. A striking peculiarity of sentiment, adapted to a single character, he frequently hits, as it were, by inspiration; but a reasonable propriety of thought he cannot for any time uphold. Nervous and picturesque expressions as well as descriptions abound in him; but it is in vain we look either for purity or simplicity of diction. His total ignorance of all theatrical art and conduct, however material a defect, yet, as it affects the spectator rather than the reader, we can more easily excuse than that want of taste which often prevails in his productions, and which gives way only by intervals to the irradiations of genius. [... ] And there may even remain a suspicion that we overrate, if possible, the greatness of his genius; in the same manner as bodies often appear more gigantic on account of their being disproportioned and misshapen.