There are no boring subjects, only disinterested minds.
We can't turn life into a pleasure. But we can choose such pleasures as are worthy of us and our immortal souls.
Realism is simply Romanticism that has lost its reason...that is its reason for existing.
A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition.
The mere brute pleasure of reading the sort of pleasure a cow must have in grazing.
Materialists and madmen never have doubts.
But the truth is that it is only by believing in God that we can ever criticise the Government. Once abolish the God, and the Government becomes the God.
It is the decisive people who have become civilised; it is the indecisive, otherwise called the higher sceptics, or the idealistic doubters, who have remained barbarians.
There are a good many fools who call me a friend, and also a good many friends who call me a fool.
A cosmic philosophy is not constructed to fit a man; a cosmic philosophy is constructed to fit a cosmos. A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon.
Faith means believing the unbelievable.
When you break the big laws, you do not get liberty; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws.
Why should anything go right; even observation and deduction? Why should not good logic be as misleading as bad logic? They are both movements in the brain of a bewildered ape?
Truth must necessarily be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind and therefore congenial to it.
There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally.
The human race is always trying this dodge of making everything entirely easy; but the difficulty which it shifts off one thing it shifts to another.
The Mass is not only about God becoming man, it is about Man becoming more himself.
To be wrong, and to be carefully wrong, that is the definition of decadence.
There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.
One pleasure attached to growing older is that many things seem to be growing younger; growing fresher and more lively than we once supposed them to be.
A strange fanaticism fills our time: the fanatical hatred of morality, especially of Christian morality.
Some men never feel small, but these are the few men who are.
My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.
Thoughts on the Merits of Work The worst of work nowadays is what happens to people when they cease to work.
A really great person is the person who makes every person feel great.
There are two kinds of charlatan: the man who is called a charlatan, and the man who really is one. The first is the quack who cures you; the second is the highly qualified person who doesn't.
To say that a man is an idealist is merely to say that he is a man.
Most Americans ... have a sort of permanent intoxication from within, a sort of invisible champagne.
Nine times out of ten it is the coarse word that condemns an evil, and the refined word that excuses it.
I should favour anything that would increase the present enormous authority of women and their creative action in their own homes. The average woman...is a despot; the average man is a serf.
Nothing is poetical if plain daylight is not poetical; and no monster should amaze us if the normal man does not amaze.
Marxism: The theory that all the important things in history are rooted in an economic motive, that history is a science, a science of the search for food.
Hope means expectancy when things are otherwise hopeless.
Before the gods that made the gods Had seen their sunrise pass, The White Horse of the White Horse Vale Was cut out of the grass.
If, therefore, nonsense is really to be the literature of the future, it must have its own version of the Cosmos to offer; the world must not only be tragic, romantic, and religious, it must be nonsensical also.
It's not that we don't have enough scoundrels to curse; it's that we don't have enough good men to curse them.
He had found the thing which the modern people call Impressionism, which is another name for that final scepticism which can find no floor to the universe.
We are Christians and Catholics not because we worship a key, but because we have passed a door and felt the wind that is the trumpet of liberty blow over the land of the living.
Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.
Tradition is the democracy of the dead.
All true friendliness begins with fire and food and drink and the recognition of rain or frost.
Science in the modern world has many uses; its chief use, however, is to provide long words to cover the errors of the rich.
One elephant having a trunk was odd; but all elephants having trunks looked like a plot.
Every true artist feels that he is touching transcendental truths; that his images are shadows of things seen through the veil.
The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.
By experts in poverty I do not mean sociologists, but poor men.
Classic literature is still something that hangs in the air like a song.
The academic mind reflects infinity, and is full of light by the simple process of being shallow and standing still.
It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.
The real great man is the man who makes every man feel great.
I need not pause to explain that crime is not a disease. It is criminology that is a disease.
The true savage is a slave, and is always talking about what he must do; the true civilised man is a free man, and is always talking about what he may do.
Excuse me if I enjoy myself rather obviously! I don't often have the luck to have a dream like this. It is new to me for a nightmare to lead me to a lobster. It is commonly the other way.
If the barricades went up in our streets and the poor became masters, I think the priests would escape, I fear the gentlemen would; but I believe the gutters would simply be running with the blood of philanthropists.
Atheism is indeed the most daring of all dogmas ... for it is the assertion of a universal negative.
"What are we going to do?" asked the Professor. "At this moment," said Syme, with a scientific detachment, "I think we are going to smash into a lamppost."
In a world flagrant with the failures of civilization, what is there particularly immortal about our own?
Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.
Vigorous organisms talk not about their processes, but about their aims.
And pray where in earth or heaven are there prudent marriages-Might as well talk about prudent suicides.
When the chord of monotony is stretched to its tightest, it breaks with the sound of a song.
The man of the true religious tradition understands two things: liberty and obedience. The first means knowing what you really want. The second means knowing what you really trust.
Laughter has something in it common with the ancient words of faith and inspiration; it unfreezes pride and unwinds secrecy; it makes people forget themselves in the presence of something greater than themselves.
We lose our bearings entirely by speaking of the 'lower classes' when we mean humanity minus ourselves.
If the world becomes pagan and perishes, the last man left alive would do well to quote the Iliad and die.
Truth, of course, must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for we have made fiction to suit ourselves.
A child's instinct is almost perfect in the matter of fighting. The child's hero is always the man or boy who defends himself suddenly and splendidly against aggression.
The Party System was founded on one national notion of fair play. It was the notion that folly and futility should be fairly divided between both sides.
Political Economy means that everybody except politicians must be economical.
If a rhinoceros were to enter this restaurant now, there is no denying he would have great power here. But I should be the first to rise and assure him that he had no authority whatever.
In all legends men have thought of women as sublime separately but horrible in a herd.
Man seems to be capable of great virtues but not of small virtues; capable of defying his torturer but not of keeping his temper.
Man is at his tallest when he bows.
A great deal of contemporary criticism reads to me like a man saying, 'Of course I do not like green cheese. I am very fond of brown sherry.
What is called matriarchy is simply moral anarchy, in which the mother alone remains fixed because all the fathers are fugitive and irresponsible.
Freethinkers are occasionally thoughtful, though never free.
When it wishes anything done which is really serious, it collects twelve of the ordinary men standing round. The same thing was done, if I remember right, by the Founder of Christianity.
There is the great lesson of 'Beauty and the Beast,' that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.
What we call emancipation is always and of necessity simply the free choice of the soul between one set of limitations and another.
There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals. The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong.
There's a lot of difference between listening and hearing.
The moderns do not realize modernity.
The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism, and modern cosmic religion is really this proposition: that nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover she is a step-mother.
A nation that has nothing but its amusements will not be amused for long.
Men feel that cruelty to the poor is a kind of cruelty to animals. They never feel that it is an injustice to equals; nay it is treachery to comrades.
There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.
The objection to fairy stories is that they tell children there are dragons. But children have always known there are dragons. Fairy stories tell children that dragons can be killed.
Wit is a sword; it is meant to make people feel the point as well as see it.
For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point and does not break.
He said he didn't very well understand how George was going to sleep any more than he did now, seeing that there were only twenty-four hours in each day.
Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc.
The sceptics, like bees, give their one sting and die.
We talk of wild animals but man is the only wild animal. It is man that has broken out. All other animals are tame animals; following the rugged respectability of the tribe or type.
It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.
The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us.
Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate.
There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.
Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.
If Christianity should happen to be true -- that is to say, if its God is the real God of the universe -- then defending it may mean talking about anything and everything.
Over-civilization and barbarism are within an inch of each other. And a mark of both is the power of medicine-men.
Madness does not come by breaking out, but by giving in; by settling down in some dirty, little, self-repeating circle of ideas; by being tamed.
To be simple is the best thing in the world.
You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.
A man can never quite understand a boy, even when he has been a boy.
The central idea of poetry is the idea of guessing right, like a child.
The word good has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.
The issue is now clear. It is between light and darkness and everyone must choose his side.
No man who worships education has got the best out of education... Without a gentle contempt for education no man's education is complete.
When giving treats to friends or children, give them what they like, emphatically not what is good for them.
We do not need to get good laws to restrain bad people. We need to get good people to restrain us from bad laws.
If the devil tells you something is too fearful to look at, look at it. If he says something is too terrible to hear, hear it. If you think some truth unbearable, bear it.
Savages and modern artists are alike strangely driven to create something uglier than themselves. but the artists find it harder.
I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.
The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.
Customs are generally unselfish. Habits are nearly always selfish.
Ingratitude is surely the chief of the intellectual sins of man. He takes his political benefits for granted, just as he takes the skies and the seasons for granted.
Contemporary society has become dry, not for lack of wonders but for lack of wonder.
Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?
The people has no definite disbelief in the temples of theology. The people has a very fiery and practical disbelief in the temples of physical science.
But since he stood for England And knew what England means, Unless you give him bacon You must not give him beans.
Modern science is necessarily a double-edged tool, a tool that cuts both ways. ... There is no doubt that a Zeppelin is a wonderful thing; but that did not prevent it from becoming a horrible thing.
Always be comic in a tragedy. What the deuce else can you do?
A puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things.
There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there.
The vulgar man is always the most distinguished, for the very desire to be distinguished is vulgar.
It is the root of all religion that a man knows that he is nothing in order to thank God that he is something.
For good or evil, a line has been passed in our political history; and something that we have known all our lives is dead. I will take only one example of it: our politicians can no longer be caricatured.
There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance.
You have not wasted your time; you have helped to save the world. We are not buffoons, but very desperate men at war with a vast conspiracy.
Playing as children means playing is the most serious thing in the world.
Real development is not leaving things behind, as on a road, but drawing life from them, as from a root.
People in high life are hardened to the wants and distresses of mankind as surgeons are to their bodily pains.
The only defensible war is a war of defense.
Exactly at the instant when hope ceases to be reasonable it begins to be useful.
It is generally the man who is not ready to argue, who is ready to sneer.
A feminist is someone who loathes being a woman and who dislikes the chief feminine characteristics.
The poetry of art is in beholding the single tower; the poetry of nature in seeing the single tree; the poetry of love in following the single woman; the poetry of religion in worshipping the single star.
The sort of man who admires Italian art while despising Italian religion is a tourist and a cad.
Nothing can ever overcome that one enormous sex (female) superiority that even the male child is born closer to his mother than to his father.
Whatever else we may say of our own age, for good or evil, nobody is likely to call it an Age of Reason.
Whenever you remove any fence, always pause long enough to ask why it was put there in the first place.
English experience indicates that when the two great political parties agree about something it is generally wrong.
These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own.
All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.
The whole order of things is as outrageous as any miracle which could presume to violate it.
The present condition of fame is merely fashion.
One can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place.
Never invoke the gods unless you really want them to appear. It annoys them very much.
The determining bulk of Scotch people had heard of golf ever since they had heard of God and often considered the two as of equal importance.
Any one thinking of the Holy Child as born in December would mean by it exactly what we mean by it; that Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate.
When men cease to believe in God, they will believe in anything.
Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord Jones is Dead' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.
All but the hard hearted man must be torn with pity for this pathetic dilemma of the rich man, who has to keep the poor man just stout enough to do the work and just thin enough to have to do it.
A man does not know what he is saying until he knows what he is not saying.
Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.
Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.
Modern man is educated to understand foreign languages and misunderstand foreigners.
There is only one thing that stands in our midst, attenuated and threatened, but enthroned in some power like a ghost of the Middle Ages: the Trade Unions.
The more truly we can see life as a fairytale, the more clearly the tale resolves itself into war with the dragon who is wasting fairyland.
Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
A detective story generally describes six living men discussing how it is that a man is dead. A modern philosophic story generally describes six dead men discussing how any man can possibly be alive.
Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell.
Saint George he was for England, And before he killed the dragon he drank a pint of English ale out of an English flagon.
Men reform a thing by removing the reality from it, and then do not know what to do with the unreality that is left.
Christianity met the mythological search for romance by being a story and the philosophical search for truth by being a true story.
The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.
I was planning to go into architecture. But when I arrived, architecture was filled up. Acting was right next to it, so I signed up for acting instead.
To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.
Against a dark sky, all flowers look like fireworks.
If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.
The perplexity of life arises from there being too many interesting things in it for us to be interested properly in any of them.
When belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to turn away from Him; but in heaven's name to what?
The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind.
As regards moral courage, then, it is not so much that the public schools support it feebly, as that they suppress it firmly.
There is no bigot like the atheist.
In the end it will not matter to us whether we wrote well or ill; whether we fought with flails or reeds. It will matter to us greatly on what side we fought.
I do not feel any contempt for an atheist, who is often a man limited and constrained by his own logic to a very sad simplification.
Marxism will in a generation or so go into the limbo of most heresies, but meanwhile it will have poisoned the Russian Revolution.
The cosmos is about the smallest hole that a man can hide his head in.
Family is the theatre of the spiritual drama, the place where things happen, especially the things that matter.
The rich are the scum of the earth in every country.
The worst moment for an atheist is when he feels a profound sense of gratitude and has no one to thank.
The State did not own men so entirely, even when it could send them to the stake, as it sometimes does now where it can send them to the elementary school.
I believe your own accent is inimitable, though I shall practice it in my bath.
The only words that ever satisfied me as describing nature are the terms used in fairy books, charm, spell, enchantment; they express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery.
Civilization has run on ahead of the soul of man, and is producing faster than he can think and give thanks.
Employers will give time to eat, time to sleep; they are in terror of a time to think.
A man cannot be wise enough to be a great artist without being wise enough to wish to be a philosopher.
Atheism is too theological.
Be careful how you suggest things to me. For there is in me a madness which goes beyond martyrdom, the madness of an utterly idle man.
I tell you naught for your comfort, Yea, naught for your desire, Save that the sky grows darker yet And the sea rises higher.
Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice.
A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.
If prosperity is regarded as the reward of virtue it will be regarded as the symptom of virtue.
I never could see anything wrong in sensationalism; and I am sure our society is suffering more from secrecy than from flamboyant revelations.
The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard. There is much more metaphysical subtlety in the word "damn" than in the word "degeneration.
True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare.
All literary style, especially national style, is made up of such coincidences, which are a spiritual sort of puns. That is why style is untranslatable.
A man who says that no patriot should attack the war until it is over is saying no good son should warn his mother of a cliff until she has fallen.
The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land.
Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian.
And we were angry and poor and happy, And proud of seeing our names in print.
Nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes.
My life is passed in making bad jokes and seeing them turn into true prophecies.
It is really not so repulsive to see the poor asking for money as to see the rich asking for more money. And advertisement is the rich asking for more money.
For when we cease to worship God, we do not worship nothing, we worship anything.
Brave men are all vertebrates; they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle.
In matters of truth the fact that you don't want to publish something is, nine times out of ten, a proof that you ought to publish it.
And all over the world, the old literature, the popular literature, is the same. It consists of very dignified sorrow and very undignified fun. Its sad tales are of broken hearts; its happy tales are of broken heads.
Youth is always too serious, and just now it is too serious about frivolity.
Aristocracy: government by the badly educated.
The obvious effect of frivolous divorce will be frivolous marriage. If people can be separated for no reason they will feel it all the easier to be united for no reason.
You can free things from alien or accidental laws, but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like, free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes.
Ivory may not be so white as snow, but the whole Arctic continent does not make ivory black.
I still think sincere pessimism the unpardonable sin.
And though St. John saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators.
Jokes are generally honest. Complete solemnity is always dishonest.
'It seems to me,' said the other, 'That you are simply seeking a pretext to insult the Marquis.' By George!' said Syme facing round and looking at him, 'What a clever chap you are!'
The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life even in order to keep it.
Acceptance is the truest kinship with humanity.
Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.
Life is serious all the time, but living cannot be. You may have all the solemnity you wish in your neckties, but in anything important (such as sex, death, and religion), you must have mirth or you will have madness.
There is, therefore, about all complete conviction a kind of huge helplessness.
Precisely because our political speeches are meant to be reported, they are not worth reporting. Precisely because they are carefully designed to be read, nobody reads them.
It is always the secure who are humble.
Mysticism keeps mankind sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.
Business, especially big business, is now organized like an army. It is, as some would say, a sort of mild militarism without bloodshed; as I say, a militarism without the military virtues.
Each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most.
Here ends another day, during which I have had eyes, ears, hands and the great world around me. Tomorrow begins another day. Why am I allowed two?
The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.
The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.
I am at one with my duality.
How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.
The chief object of education is not to learn things but to unlearn things.
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.
Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground.
Artistic temperament is the disease that afflicts amateurs.
Architecture approaches nearer than any other art to being irrevocable because it is so difficult to get rid of.
Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.
Every man speaks of public opinion, and means by public opinion, public opinion minus his opinion.
Earnest Freethinkers need not worry themselves so much about the persecutions of the past. Before the Liberal idea is dead or triumphant we shall see wars and persecutions the like of which the world has never seen.
The test of happiness is gratitude.
Thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste.
Sometimes he even embarrassed the company by phrases suggesting that there was some difference between a Liberal and a Conservative.
It is a mathematical fact that if a line be not perfectly directed towards a point, it will actually go further away from it as it comes nearer to it.
There is only one thing that it requires real courage to say, and that is a truism.
People who make history know nothing about history. You can see that in the sort of history they make.
Earth will grow worse till men redeem it, And wars more evil, ere all wars cease.
America has a new delicacy, a coarse, rank refinement.
And it is always the humble man who talks too much; the proud man watches himself too closely.
In truth the Church is too unique to prove herself unique. For most popular and easy proof is by parallel; and here there is no parallel.
I think the oddest thing about the advanced people is that, while they are always talking about things as problems, they have hardly any notion of what a real problem is.
Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace.
When some English moralists write about the importance of having character, they appear to mean only the importance of having a dull character.
The past is democratic, because it is a people. The future is despotic, because it is a caprice. Every man is alone in his prediction, just as each man is alone in a dream.
An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.
I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.
The only way of catching a train I have ever discovered is to miss the train before.
All conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change.
The original quality in any man of imagination is imagery.
We are learning to do a great many clever things. The next great task will be to learn not to do them.
'My country, right or wrong' is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'
The difficulty of explaining ‘why I am a Catholic' is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.
In the struggle for existence, it is only on those who hang on for ten minutes after all is hopeless, that hope begins to dawn.
God is not a symbol of goodness;
goodness is a symbol of God.
A man who says that no patriot should attack the Boer War until it is over is not worth answering intelligently; he is saying that no good son should warn his mother off a cliff until she has fallen over it.
Ritual will always mean throwing away something: destroying our corn or wine upon the altar of our gods.
Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another.
Think of all those ages through which men have had the courage to die, and then remember that we have actually fallen to talking about having the courage to live.
A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.
The real pleasure-seeking is the combination of luxury and austerity in such a way that the luxury can really be felt.
The beautification of the world is not a work of nature, but a work of art, then it involves an artist.
Odd, isn't it, that a thief and a vagabond should repent, when so many who are rich and secure remain hard and frivolous, and without fruit for God or man?
I did try to found a little heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy.
There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.
The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed.
All the exaggerations are right, if they exaggerate the right thing.
Original sin is the only doctrine that's been empirically validated by 2,000 years of human history.
The greenhorn is the ultimate victor in everything; it is he that gets the most out of life.
To be simple is the best thing in the world; to be modest is the next best thing. I am not sure about being quiet.
People seem to fight about things very unsuitable for fighting. They make a frightful noise in support of very quiet things. They knock each other about in the name of very fragile things.
Christianity even when watered down is hot enough to boil all modern society to rags.
All science, even the divine science, is a sublime detective story. Only it is not set to detect why a man is dead; but the darker secret of why he is alive.
"Your offer," he said, "is far too idiotic to be declined."
I am going to hold a pistol to the head of the Modern Man. But I shall not use it to kill him -- only to bring him to life.
Dipsomaniac and the abstainer are not only both mistaken, but they both make the same mistake. They both regard wine as a drug and not as a drink.
Boyhood is a most complex and incomprehensible thing. Even when one has been through it, one does not understand what it was. A man can never quite understand a boy, even when he has been the boy.
Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.
Comradeship is quite a different thing from friendship.
Every act of will is an act of self-limitation. To desire action is to desire limitation. In that sense, every act is an act of self-sacrifice. When you choose anything, you reject everything else.
It is still bad taste to be an avowed atheist. But now it is equally bad taste to be an avowed Christian.
We can be almost certain of being wrong about the future, if we are wrong about the past.
ONCE remove the old arena of theological quarrels, and you will throw open the whole world to the most horrible, the most hopeless, the most endless, the most truly interminable quarrels; the untheological quarrels.
Do not, I beseech you be troubled by the increase of forces already in dissolution. You have mistake the hour of the night: it is already morning.
The modern city is ugly not because it is a city but because it is not enough of a city, because it is a jungle, because it is confused and anarchic, and surging with selfish and materialistic energies.
What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but absence of self-criticism.
People that insist upon drinking and driving, are putting the quart before the hearse.
I left the fairy tales lying on the floor of the nursery, and I have not found any books so sensible since.
The only way to be sure of catching a train is to miss the one before it.
Coincidences are spiritual puns.
To the humble man, and to the humble man alone, the sun is really a sun; to the humble man, and to the humble man alone, the sea is really a sea.
Education is the period during which you are being instructed by somebody you do not know, about something you do not want to know.
With any recovery from morbidity there must go a certain healthy humiliation.
I am the fool in this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne.
Tradition does not mean that the living are dead, but that the dead are living.
A man imagines a happy marriage as a marriage of love; even if he makes fun of marriages that are without love, or feels sorry for lovers who are without marriage.
One of the chief uses of religion is that it makes us remember our coming from darkness, the simple fact that we are created.
In the glad old days, before the rise of modern morbidities...it used to be thought a disadvantage to be misunderstood.
Humility is the mother of giants.
Powerful men who have powerful passions use much of their strength in forging chains for themselves.
There is no better test of a man's ultimate chivalry and integrity than how he behaves when he is wrong... A stiff apology is a second insult.
The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.
Daybreak is a never-ending glory; getting out of bed is a never ending nuisance.
The ignorant pronounce it Frood To cavil or applaud The well-informed pronounce it Froyd But I pronounce it Fraud.
Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life.
A thing may be too sad to be believed or too wicked to be believed or too good to be believed; but it cannot be too absurd to be believed in this planet of frogs and elephants, of crocodiles and cuttle-fish.
A small artist is content with art; a great artist is content with nothing except everything.
The big corporation is not in the least remarkable for efficiency; it is only too big to be blamed for its inefficiency.
A good joke is the closest thing we have to divine revelation.
We cannot fling ourselves into the blank future; we can only call up images from the past. This being so, the important principle follows, that how many images we have largely depends on how much past we have.
Only friendliness produces friendship. And we must look far deeper into the soul of man for the thing that produces friendliness.
There is only one reason an intelligent person doesn't believe in miracles. He or she believes in materialism.
All government is an ugly necessity.
There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob.
What affects men sharply about a foreign nation is not so much finding or not finding familiar things; it is rather not finding them in the familiar place.
Women are the only realists; their whole object in life is to pit their realism against the extravagant, excessive, and occasionally drunken idealism of men.
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
Because our expression is imperfect we need friendship to fill up the imperfections.
You don't want to be so open minded that your brains fall out!
Thanks are the highest form of thought.
I always like a dog so long as he isn't spelled backward.
The humorous look of children is perhaps the most endearing of all the bonds that hold the Cosmos together.
When men have come to the edge of a precipice, it is the lover of life who has the spirit to leap backwards, and only the pessimist who continues to believe in progress.
When a woman puts up her fists to a man she is putting herself in the only posture in which he is not afraid of her.
It is better to speak wisdom foolishly like the saints than to speak folly wisely like the deans.
There should be a burnished tablet let into the ground on the spot where some courageous man first ate Stilton cheese, and survived.
And they that rule in England, in stately conclaves met, alas, alas for England they have no graves as yet.
Monotony has nothing to do with a place; monotony, either in its sensation or its infliction, is simply the quality of a person. There are no dreary sights; there are only dreary sight seers.
I should say that psycho-analysis was confession without absolution.
Self-denial is the test and definition of self-government.
The first fact about the celebration of a birthday is that it is a way of affirming defiantly, and even flamboyantly, that it is a good thing to be alive.
Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer's day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented.
Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.
A madman is not someone who has lost his reason but someone who has lost everything but his reason.
There cannot be a nation of millionaires, and there never has been a nation of Utopian comrades; but there have been any number of nations of tolerably contented peasants.
Modern toleration is really a tyranny. It is a tyranny because it is a silence.
Every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things.
It is only great men who take up a great space by not being there.
Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.
Only man can be absurd: for only man can be dignified.
A figure of speech can often get into a crack too small for a definition.
The greatest political storm flutters only a fringe of humanity. But an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children literally alter the destiny of nations.
The word 'good' has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.
Every work of art has one indispensable mark ... the center of it is simple, however much the fulfillment may be complicated.
Some of the most frantic lies on the face of life are told with modesty and restraint; for the simple reason that only modesty and restraint will save them.
The primary paradox of Christianity is that the ordinary condition of man is not his sane or sensible condition; that the normal itself is an abnormality.
If you'd take your head home and boil it for a turnip it might be useful. I can't say. But it might.
Shouldn't atheist have an equal obligation to explain pleasure in a world of randomness. Where does pleasure come from?
The cross cannot be defeated for it is defeat.
Nobody notices postmen, yet they have passions like other men.
Truths turn into dogmas the minute they are disputed.
The doctrine of human equality reposes on this: that there is no man really clever who has not found that he is stupid.
Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.
You can't have the family farm without the family.
Christianity, whatever else it is, is an explosion. Unless it is sensational there is simply no sense in it. Unless the Gospel sounds like a gun going off it has not been uttered at all.
Every time a man knocks on a brothel door, he is really knocking for God.
For religion all men are equal, as all pennies are equal, because the only value of any of them is that they bear the image of the king.
I would never commit the positively anti-social action of robbing a bank, or worse still, working in one.
One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.
All good writers express the state of their souls, even (as occurs in some cases of very good writers) if it is a state of damnation.
The Christian pities men because they are dying, and the Buddhist pities them because they are living. The Christian is sorry for what damages the life of a man; but the Buddhist is sorry for him because he is alive.
The scientific facts, which were supposed to contradict the faith in the nineteenth century, are nearly all of them regarded as unscientific fictions in the twentieth century.
Our digestions, going sacredly and silently right, that is the foundation of all poetry.
All architecture is great architecture after sunset.
Christian Science … is the direct denial both of science and of Christianity, for Science rests wholly on the recognition of truth and Christianity on the recognition of pain.
Journalism largely consists of saying Lord Jones is Dead to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.
Ten thousand women marched through the streets shouting, 'We will not be dictated to,' and went off and became stenographers.
Fairy tales are more than true.
A nation is not going mad when it does extravagant things, so long as it does them in an extravagant spirit. But whenever we see things done wildly, but taken tamely, then the State is growing insane.
Every remedy is a desperate remedy. Every cure is a miraculous cure. Curing a madman is not arguing with a philosopher; it is casting out a devil.
The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.
I've searched all the parks in all the cities -- and found no statues of Committees.
It is a quaint comment on the notion that the English are practical and the French merely visionary, that we were rebels in arts while they were rebels in arms.
There is more to life than increasing its speed. Gandhi gave my life to become the person I am right now. Was it worth it? Richard Bach Life exists for the love of music or beautiful things.
We are like the penny, because we have the image of the king stamped on us, the divine king.
Stick to the man who looks out of the window and tries to understand the world. Keep clear of the man who looks in at the window and tries to understand you.
If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses, what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars?
A third-class carriage is a community, while a first-class carriage is a place of wild hermits.
The old assumption of the approximate impossibility of war really rested on a similar assumption about the impossibility of evil-and especially of evil in high places.
An almost unnatural vigilance is really required of the citizen because of the horrible rapidity with which human institutions grow old.
The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but rather that we should have a new soul.
Adventure is the champagne of life, but I prefer my champagne and my adventures dry.
A thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.
Now there is any amount of this nonsense cropping up among American cranks. Anybody may propose to establish coercive Eugenics; or enforce psychoanalysis that is, enforce confession without absolution.
The point is not that this world is too sad to love or too glad not to love; the point is that when you do love a thing, its gladness is a reason for loving it, and its sadness a reason for loving it more.
I still hold...that the suburbs ought to be either glorified by romance and religion or else destroyed by fire from heaven, or even by firebrands from the earth.
Once abolish the God, and the Government becomes the God.
He who has no sympathy with myths has no sympathy with men.
Then I only wondered who put the toys in the stocking; now I wonder who put the stocking by the bed, and the bed in the room, and the room in the house, and the house on the planet, and the great planet in the void.
The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present. History is a hill or high point of vantage, from which alone men see the town in which they live or the age in which they are living.
The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up.
The modern world is a crowd of very rapid racing cars all brought to a standstill and stuck in a block of traffic.
There is but an inch of difference between a cushioned chamber and a padded cell.
They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words -- 'free-love' -- as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free.
The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.
Art is born when the temporary touches the eternal.
The best kind of giving is thanksgiving.
The secularists have not wrecked divine things; but the secularists have wrecked secular things, if that is any comfort to them. The Titans did not scale heaven; but they laid waste the world.
The miser is the man who starves himself and everybody else, in order to worship wealth in its dead form, as distinct from its living form.
The simple sense of wonder at the shapes of things, and at their exuberant independence of our intellectual standards and our trivial definitions, is the basis of spirituality.
Stated baldly, charity certainly means one of two things -- pardoning unpardonable acts, or loving unlovable people.
Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions.
There are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands.
Buddhism is not a creed, it is a doubt.
Idolatry is when you worship what you should use, and use what you should worship.
The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.
It is true that I am of an older fashion; much that I love has been destroyed or sent into exile.
It is largely because the free-thinkers, as a school, have hardly made up their minds whether they want to be more optimist or more pessimist than Christianity that their small but sincere movement has failed.
Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.
We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man's terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.
Men always talk about the most important things to perfect strangers.
Against a dark sky all flowers look like fireworks. There is something strange about them, at once vivid and secret, like flowers traced in fire in the phantasmal garden of a witch.
Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.
Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.
To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it.
Theology is only thought applied to religion.