Human contacts have been so highly valued in the past only because reading was not a common accomplishment…. The world, you must remember, is only just becoming literate. As reading becomes more and more habitual and widespread, an ever-increasing number of people will discover that books will give them all the pleasures of social life and none of its intolerable tedium.
Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means of going backward.
Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the byproduct of other activities.
Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.
The course of every intellectual, if he pursues his journey long and unflinchingly enough, ends in the obvious, from which the non-intellectuals have never stirred.
Topics: Simple Living, Intelligence, Simplicity
Most ignorance is vincible ignorance.We don’t know because we don’t want to know.
Morality is always the product of terror; its chains and strait-waistcoats are fashioned by those who dare not trust others, because they dare not trust themselves, to walk in liberty.
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.
Nobody can have the consolations of religion or philosophy unless he has first experienced their desolations
The worst enemy of life, freedom and the common decencies is total anarchy; their second worst enemy is total efficiency.
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.
The brotherhood of men does not imply their equality. Families have their fools and their men of genius, their black sheep and their saints, their worldly successes and their worldly failures. A man should treat his brothers lovingly and with justice, according to the deserts of each. But the deserts of every brother are not the same.
Dream in a pragmatic way.
I can sympathize with people’s pains, but not with their pleasures. There is something curiously boring about somebody else’s happiness.
The history of any nation follows an undulatory course. In the trough of the wave we find more or less complete anarchy; but the crest is not more or less complete Utopia, but only, at best, a tolerably humane, partially free and fairly just society that invariably carries within itself the seeds of its own decadence.
Topics: Nations, Nation, Nationalism, Nationality
My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.
To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
A belief in hell and the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton have never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumor.
Topics: Dying, Death
Every person who knows how to read has it in their power to magnify themselves, to multiply the ways in which they exist, to make life full, significant, and interesting.
Topics: Education, Reading
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.
A life-worshipper’s philosophy is comprehensive. He is at one moment a positivist and at another a mystic: now haunted by the thought of death and now a Dionysian child of nature; now a pessimist and now, with a change of lover or liver or even the weather, an exuberant believer that God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world.
Topics: Life, Lust For
Official dignity tends to increase in inverse ratio to the importance of the country in which the office is held.
There isn’t any formula or method. You learn to love by loving – by paying attention and doing what one thereby discovers has to be done.
Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.
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