The worst enemy of life, freedom and the common decencies is total anarchy; their second worst enemy is total efficiency.
Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects… totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.
A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.
It takes two to make a murder. There are born victims, born to have their throats cut, as the cut-throats are born to be hanged.
We are all geniuses up to the age of ten.
The proper study of mankind is books.
It is because we don’t know who we are, because we are unaware that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, that we behave in the generally silly, the often insane, the sometimes criminal ways that are so characteristically human. We are saved, we are liberated and enlightened, by perceiving the hitherto unperceived good that is already within us, by returning to our eternal ground and remaining where, without knowing it, we have always been.
Topics: War, General, Light, Character, Win, Good, Act
Several excuses are always less convincing than one.
A child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention.
Topics: Ignorance, Growth
Every gain made by individuals or societies is almost instantly taken for granted. The luminous ceiling toward which we raise our longing eyes becomes, when we have climbed to the next floor, a stretch of disregarded linoleum beneath our feet.
Chastity—the most unnatural of all the sexual perversions.
I have discovered the most exciting, the most arduous literary form of all, the most difficult to master, the most pregnant in curious possibilities. I mean the advertisement. It is far easier to write ten passably effective Sonnets, good enough to take in the not too inquiring critic, than one effective advertisement that will take in a few thousand of the uncritical buying public.
Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.
Only one more indispensable massacre of Capitalists or Communists or Fascists or Christians or Heretics, and there we are – there we are in the Golden Future
We are living now, not in the delicious intoxication induced by the early successes of science, but in a rather grisly morning-after, when it has become apparent that what triumphant science has done hitherto is to improve the means for achieving unimproved or actually deteriorated ends.
Topics: Scientists, Science
You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. Dogs do not ritually urinate in the hope of persuading heaven to do the same and send down rain. Asses do not bray a liturgy to cloudless skies. Nor do cats attempt, by abstinence from cat’s meat, to wheedle the feline spirits into benevolence. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough.
To associate with other like-minded people in small purposeful groups is for the great majority of men and women a source of profound psychological satisfaction.
Reality cannot be ignored except at a price; and the longer the ignorance is persisted in, the higher and more terrible becomes the price that must be paid.
The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.
Science has “explained” nothing; the more we know the more fantastic the world becomes and the profounder the surrounding darkness.
To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
Single-mindedness is all very well in cows or baboons; in an animal claiming to belong to the same species as Shakespeare it is simply disgraceful.
The spiritual journey does not consist in arriving at a new destination where a person gains what he did not have, or becomes what he is not. It consists in the dissipation of one’s own ignorance concerning one’s self and life, and the gradual growth of that understanding which begins the spiritual awakening. The finding of God is a coming to one’s self.
Topics: Ignorance, Growth, Spiritual, God, Life, New, Spirit, Journeys
The traveler’s-eye view of men and women is not satisfying. A man might spend his life in trains and restaurants and know nothing of humanity at the end. To know, one must be an actor as well as a spectator.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- E. M. Forster English Novelist
- Douglas Adams British Author
- Corrie Ten Boom Dutch Jewish Humanist
- Desiderius Erasmus Dutch Humanist, Scholar
- G. K. Chesterton English Journalist
- Robert Anton Wilson American Polymath
- Thomas Love Peacock English Satirist
- J. G. Ballard English Novelist
- Percy Bysshe Shelley English Poet
- George Harrison English Singer