Status quo

Latin term meaning the existing state of affairs

Status quo is a Latin phrase meaning the existing state of affairs, particularly with regard to social or political issues. To maintain the status quo is to keep things the way they presently are.



Quotes are arranged by author.

  • Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are. (Weil die Dinge sind, wie sie sind, werden die Dinge nicht so bleiben wie sie sind.)
    • As quoted in Dictionary of Contemporary Quotations (1976) by John Gordon Burke and Ned Kehde, p. 224, also in The Book of Positive Quotations (2007) by John Cook, p. 390
  • When a new idea is advanced, it necessarily challenges the previous idea. This disturbs the holders of the previous idea and threatens their security. The normal reaction is anger. The new idea is then attacked, and support of it is required to be of a high order of certainty. The greater the departure from the previous idea, the greater the degree of certainty required, so it is said. I have never been able to accept this. It assumes that the old order was established on high orders of proof, and on examination this is seldom found to be true.
    • Archeologist George Carter (1980, p. 318) quoted from Michael A. Cremo, Richard L. Thompson - Forbidden Archeology_ The Hidden History of the Human Race -Bhaktivedanta Institute (1996)
  • As the generalization goes about the art industry, people can be really challenging and thought-provoking in their thinking and questioning the status quo, and it's really important that the status quo can be questioned and that there are people doing that.
  • Habit with him was all the test of truth,
    It must be right: I’ve done it from my youth.
    • George Crabbe, The Borough (1810), Letter iii, "The Vicar", line 138.
  • I omit from consideration here the fact that people who demand neutrality in any situation are usually not neutral, but in favor of the status quo.
  • Remember that almost every new concept was ridiculed, rejected, and laughed at when first presented, especially by the experts of the time. That’s what happened to the first scientists who said the earth was round, the first who said it went around the sun, and the first who thought people could learn to fly. You could write a whole book, and many have, just on things that people thought were impossible up until the time they happened.
  • This is true for any society, whether the power structure is religious, military, socialist, capitalist, communist, fascist, or tribal. The leaders will attempt to hold back change. Sometimes, even when conditions are terrible for the majority of people, the people themselves may resist change because there is comfort in the familiar.
  • It is revolting to have no better reasons for a law than that it was laid down in the time of Henry IV. It is still more revolting if the grounds upon which it was laid down have vanished long since, and the rule simply persists from blind imitation of the past.
  • Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.
    • Grace Hopper, The Wit and Wisdom of Grace Hopper (1987)
    • Unsourced variant: The most dangerous phrase in the language is, "We've always done it this way."
  • There are two kinds of fool. One says, "This is old, and therefore good." And one says, "This is new, and therefore better."
  • Change tends to fill people with this incredible fear.
  • Satisfied powers are those that have reached the top of the pecking order, are happy with their lot, and are primarily interested in preserving the status quo. In contrast, rising powers are states on the move. They are not satisfied with their lot, are usually struggling for recognition and influence, and are therefore looking for ways to overturn the status quo.
  • Certainly none of the advances made in civilization has been due to counter-revolutionaries and advocates of the status quo.
  • New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.
    • John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689).

See also

Wikipedia has an article about:
  • Neophobia (the fear or hatred of novelty, new things, innovation, or unfamiliar places or situations) at Wikipedia.