The loftiest edifices need the deepest foundations.
My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image to be servants of their human interests.
It is always pleasant to be urged to do something on the ground that one can do it well.
The superiority of the distant over the present is only due to the mass and variety of the pleasures that can be suggested, compared with the poverty of those that can at any time be felt.
Topics: Appreciation, Gratitude, Blessings
Culture is on the horns of this dilemma: if profound and noble it must remain rare, if common it must become mean
Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are.
Character is the basis of happiness and happiness the sanction of character.
America is a young country with an old mentality.
Religions are the great fairy tales of conscience.
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted; it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians.
Topics: Reflection, Past, Progress, History
Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality.
The family is an early expedient and in many ways irrational. If the race had developed a special sexless class to be nurses, pedagogues, and slaves, like the workers among ants and bees, then the family would have been unnecessary. Such a division of labor would doubtless have involved evils of its own, but it would have obviated some drags and vexations proper to the family.
To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman.
It is a revenge the devil sometimes takes upon the virtuous, that he entraps them by the force of the very passion they have suppressed and think themselves superior to.
Topics: Passion, Virtue
There is nothing to which men, while they have food and drink, cannot reconcile themselves.
Nothing can so pierce the soul as the uttermost sigh of the body.
Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better.
Experience seems to most of us to lead to conclusions, but empiricism has sworn never to draw them.
Sanity is madness put to good uses.
The theatre, for all its artifices, depicts life in a sense more truly than history, because the medium has a kindred movement to that of real life, though an artificial setting and form.
Society is like the air, necessary to breathe but insufficient to live on.
To cement a new friendship, especially between foreigners or persons of a different social world, a spark with which both were secretly charged must fly from person to person, and cut across the accidents of place and time.
Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.
Music is essentially useless, as life is.
To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight to the blood.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Bahya ibn Paquda Jewish Philosopher
- Miguel de Unamuno Spanish Philosopher, Writer
- Charles Sanders Peirce American Philosopher
- Jacinto Benavente Spanish Dramatist
- Lope de Vega Spanish Playwright
- John Dewey American Philosopher
- William James American Philosopher
- Miguel de Cervantes Spanish Novelist
- Pablo Picasso Spanish Painter
- Will Durant American Historian