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[ Also see Adaptation Conformity Culture Etiquette Fashion Habit Innovation Manners Precedent Society Tradition ]

The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt till they are too strong to be broken.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

Their origin is commonly unknown; for the practice often continues when the cause has ceased, and concerning superstitious ceremonies it is in vain to conjecture; for what reason did not dictate, reason cannot explain.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

Leopards break into the temple and drink the sacrificial chalices dry; this occurs repeatedly, again and again; finally it can be reckoned upon beforehand and becomes part of the ceremony.
      - Franz Kafka

Custom has furnished the only basis which ethics have ever had, and there is no conceivable human action which custom has not at one time justified and at another condemned.
      - Joseph Wood Krutch

Great things astonish us, and small dishearten us. Custom makes both familiar.
      - Jean de la Bruyere,
        The Characters or Manners of the Present Age
         (vol. II, ch. I, On Judgments)

The custom of the manor and the place must be observed.
      - Legal Maxim

Custom is a violent and treacherous school mistress. She, by little and lithe, slyly and unperceived, slips in the foot of her authority; but having by this gentle and humble beginning, with the benefit of time, fixed and established it, she then unmasks a furious and tyrannic countenance, against which we have no more the courage or the power so much as to lift up our eyes.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

The way of the world is to make laws, but follow customs.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne,
        Of Custom and Law (ch. XXII)

Custom is the tyranny of the lower human faculties over the higher.
      - Madame Suzanne Curchod Necker

Parents fear the destruction of natural affection in their children. What is this natural principle so liable to decay? Habit is a second nature, which destroys the first. Why is not custom nature? I suspect that this nature itself is but a first custom, as custom is a second nature.
      - Blaise Pascal

We are more sensible of what is done against custom than against nature.
      - Plutarch

Choose always the way that seems the best, however rough it may be. Custom will render it easy and agreeable.
      - Pythagoras,
        Ethical Sentences from Stoboeus

Be not too rash in the breaking of an inconvenient custom; as it was gotten, so leave it by degrees. Danger attends upon too sudden alterations; he that pulls down a bad building by the great may be ruined by the fall, but he that takes it down brick by brick may live to build a better.
      - Francis Quarles

Can there be any greater dotage in the world than for one to guide and direct his courses by the sound of a bell, and not by his own judgment.
      - Francois Rabelais

Custom, which diminishes the intense, increases the moderate, pleasures.
      - Andrew Michael Ramsay (Chevalier de Ramsay)

The influence of custom is incalculable.; dress a boy as a man and he will at once change his own conception of himself.
      - Bayle Saint John

Strange customs do not thrive in foreign soil.
  [Ger., Nicht fremder Brauch gedeiht in einem Lande.]
      - Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller,
        Demetrius (I, 1)

A deep meaning often lies in old customs.
  [Ger., Ein tiefer Sinn wohnt in del alten Brauchen.]
      - Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller,
        Marie Stuart (I, 7, 131)

As the world leads we follow.
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

If is a custom,
  More honor'd in the breach than the observance.
      - William Shakespeare

The breach of custom
  Is breach of all.
      - William Shakespeare

Custom calls me to 't.
  What custom wills, in all things should we do't,
    The dust on antique time would lie unswept
      And mountainous error be too highly heaped
        For truth t' o'erpeer.
      - William Shakespeare, Coriolanus
         (Coriolanus at II, iii)

But to my mind, though I am native here
  And to the manner born, it is a custom
    More honored in the breach than the observance.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at I, iv)

That monster custom, who all sense doth eat,
  Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
    That to the use of actions fair and good
      He likewise gives a frock or livery
        That aptly is put on.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at III, iv)

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