It is not funny that anything else should fall down; only that a man should fall down. Why do we laugh? Because it is a gravely religious matter: it is the Fall of Man. Only man can be absurd: for only man can be dignified.
View quote | Quotes about Absurdity

I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.
View quote | Quotes about Action

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.
View quote | Quotes about Adventure

One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.
View quote | Quotes about Adversity

Do not free the camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel.
View quote | Quotes about Adversity

I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.
View quote | Quotes about Advice

Youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless. The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged.
View quote | Quotes about Age and Aging

Most Americans are born drunk, and really require a little wine or beer to sober them. They have a sort of permanent intoxication from within, a sort of invisible champagne. Americans do not need to drink to inspire them to do anything, though they do sometimes, I think, need a little for the deeper and more delicate purpose of teaching them how to do nothing.
View quote | Quotes about Alcohol and Alcoholism

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.
View quote | Quotes about America

Psychoanalysis is confession without absolution.
View quote | Quotes about Analysis

Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.
View quote | Quotes about Angels

A stiff apology is a second insult. The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.
View quote | Quotes about Apologies

All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.
View quote | Quotes about Architecture

A building is akin to dogma; it is insolent, like dogma. Whether or no it is permanent, it claims permanence, like a dogma. People ask why we have no typical architecture of the modern world, like impressionism in painting. Surely it is obviously because we have not enough dogmas; we cannot bear to see anything in the sky that is solid and enduring, anything in the sky that does not change like the clouds of the sky.
View quote | Quotes about Architecture

People generally quarrel because they cannot argue.
View quote | Quotes about Argument

Soldiers have many faults, but they have one redeeming merit; they are never worshippers of force. Soldiers more than any other men are taught severely and systematically that might is not right. The fact is obvious. The might is in the hundred men who obey. The right (or what is held to be right) is in the one man who commands them.
View quote | Quotes about Army and Navy

The artistic temperament is a disease that affects amateurs. Artists of a large and wholesome vitality get rid of their art easily, as they breathe easily or perspire easily. But in artists of less force, the thing becomes a pressure, and produces a definite pain, which is called the artistic temperament.
View quote | Quotes about Arts and Artists

Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.
View quote | Quotes about Arts and Artists

Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.
View quote | Quotes about Arts and Artists

The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world. In this long vigil he often has to vary his methods of stimulation; but in this long vigil he is also himself striving against a continual tendency to sleep.
View quote | Quotes about Arts and Artists

Those thinkers who cannot believe in any gods often assert that the love of humanity would be in itself sufficient for them; and so, perhaps, it would, if they had it.
View quote | Quotes about Atheism

We call a man a bigot or a slave of dogma because he is a thinker who has thought thoroughly and to a definite end.
View quote | Quotes about Bigotry

A turkey is more occult and awful than all the angels and archangels. In so far as God has partly revealed to us an angelic world, he has partly told us what an angel means. But God has never told us what a turkey means. And if you go and stare at a live turkey for an hour or two, you will find by the end of it that the enigma has rather increased than diminished.
View quote | Quotes about Birds

The mere brute pleasure of reading --the sort of pleasure a cow must have in grazing.
View quote | Quotes about Books - Reading

A good novel tells us the truth about it's hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
View quote | Quotes about Books - Reading

A yawn is a silent shout.
View quote | Quotes about Bores and Boredom

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.
View quote | Quotes about Boys

Buddhism is not a creed, it is a doubt.
View quote | Quotes about Buddhism

Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc.
View quote | Quotes about Chastity

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.
View quote | Quotes about Christians and Christianity

The doctrine of human equality reposes on this: that there is no man really clever who has not found that he is stupid.
View quote | Quotes about Cleverness

White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white.
View quote | Quotes about Color

I've searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees.
View quote | Quotes about Committees and Meetings

The perplexity of life arises from there being too many interesting things in it for us to be interested properly in any of them.
View quote | Quotes about Complexity

Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf ;is better than a whole loaf.
View quote | Quotes about Compromise

I believe in getting into hot water. I think it keeps you clean.
View quote | Quotes about Conflict

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.
View quote | Quotes about Contentment

Being contented ought to mean in English, as it does in French, being pleased. Being content with an attic ought not to mean being unable to move from it and resigned to living in it; it ought to mean appreciating all there is in such a position.
View quote | Quotes about Contentment

With any recovery from morbidity there must go a certain healthy humiliation.
View quote | Quotes about Convalescence

The cosmos is about the smallest hole that a man can hide his head in.
View quote | Quotes about Cosmos

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.
View quote | Quotes about Courage

Courage is getting away from death by continually coming within an inch of it.
View quote | Quotes about Courage

Brave men are all vertebrates; they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle.
View quote | Quotes about Courage

Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.
View quote | Quotes about Democracy

There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.
View quote | Quotes about Dullness

Education is the period during which you are being instructed by somebody you do not know, about something you do not want to know.
View quote | Quotes about Education

It is as healthy to enjoy sentiment as to enjoy jam.
View quote | Quotes about Emotions

When you have really exhausted an experience you always reverence and love it. The two things that nearly all of us have thoroughly and really been through are childhood and youth. And though we would not have them back again on any account, we feel that they are both beautiful, because we have drunk them dry.
View quote | Quotes about Experience

Experience which was once claimed by the aged is now claimed exclusively by the young.
View quote | Quotes about Experience

The present condition of fame is merely fashion.
View quote | Quotes about Fame

The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.
View quote | Quotes about Family

The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it --because it is a fact.
View quote | Quotes about Fear

The full value of this life can only be got by fighting; the violent take it by storm. And if we have accepted everything we have missed something -- war. This life of ours is a very enjoyable fight, but a very miserable truce.
View quote | Quotes about Fights and Fighting

You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it.
View quote | Quotes about Fights and Fighting

The golden age only comes to men when they have forgotten gold.
View quote | Quotes about Gold

Evil comes at leisure like the disease. Good comes in a hurry like the doctor.
View quote | Quotes about Good and Evil

There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the real great man is the man who makes every man feel great.
View quote | Quotes about Greatness

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.
View quote | Quotes about Growth

Happiness is a mystery, like religion, and should never be rationalized.
View quote | Quotes about Happiness

One of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes such a long time.
View quote | Quotes about Hatred

Their is a road from the eye to heart that does not go through the intellect.
View quote | Quotes about Heart

Fable is more historical than fact, because fact tells us about one man and fable tells us about a million men.
View quote | Quotes about History and Historians

To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.
View quote | Quotes about Hope

Man is an exception, whatever else he is. If he is not the image of God, then he is a disease of the dust. If it is not true that a divine being fell, then we can only say that one of the animals went entirely off its head.
View quote | Quotes about Humankind

Man does not live by soap alone; and hygiene, or even health, is not much good unless you can take a healthy view of it -- or, better still, feel a healthy indifference to it.
View quote | Quotes about Hygiene

We ought to see far enough into a hypocrite to see even his sincerity.
View quote | Quotes about Hypocrisy

What people call impartiality may simply mean indifference, and what people call partiality may simply mean mental activity.
View quote | Quotes about Impartiality

The greenhorn is the ultimate victor in everything; it is he that gets the most out of life.
View quote | Quotes about Innocence

Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.
View quote | Quotes about Intelligence and Intellectuals

A large section of the intelligentsia seems wholly devoid of intelligence.
View quote | Quotes about Intelligence and Intellectuals

There are no uninteresting things, there are only uninterested people.
View quote | Quotes about Interest

A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition.
View quote | Quotes about Intuition

The old idea that the joke was not good enough for the company has been superseded by the new aristocratic idea that the company was not worthy of the joke. They have introduced an almost insane individualism into that one form of intercourse which is specially and uproariously communal. They have made even levities into secrets. They have made laughter lonelier than tears.
View quote | Quotes about Jokes and Jokers

Journalism consists largely in saying Lord James is dead to people who never knew Lord James was alive.
View quote | Quotes about Journalism and Journalists

Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers another.
View quote | Quotes about Journalism and Journalists

People accuse journalism of being too personal; but to me it has always seemed far too impersonal. It is charged with tearing away the veils from private life; but it seems to me to be always dropping diaphanous but blinding veils between men and men. The Yellow Press is abused for exposing facts which are private; I wish the Yellow Press did anything so valuable. It is exactly the decisive individual touches that it never gives; and a proof of this is that after one has met a man a million times in the newspapers it is always a complete shock and reversal to meet him in real life.
View quote | Quotes about Journalism and Journalists

Our civilization has decided that determining the guilt or innocence of men is a thing too important to be trusted to trained men. When it wants a library catalogued, or the solar system discovered, or any trifle of that kind, it uses up its specialists. But 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.
View quote | Quotes about Juries

One may understand the Cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.
View quote | Quotes about Knowledge

But there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.
View quote | Quotes about Life and Death

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.
View quote | Quotes about Life and Living

Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.
View quote | Quotes about Love

The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.
View quote | Quotes about Love

We are justified in enforcing good morals, for they belong to all mankind; but we are not justified in enforcing good manners, for good manners always mean our own manners.
View quote | Quotes about Manners

Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.
View quote | Quotes about Marriage

Men always talk about the most important things to perfect strangers. In the perfect stranger we perceive man himself; the image of a God is not disguised by resemblances to an uncle or doubts of wisdom of a mustache.
View quote | Quotes about Men

The Museum is not meant either for the wanderer to see by accident or for the pilgrim to see with awe. It is meant for the mere slave of a routine of self-education to stuff himself with every sort of incongruous intellectual food in one indigestible meal.
View quote | Quotes about Museums and Galleries

We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next door neighbor.
View quote | Quotes about Neighbors

Your next-door neighbor is not a man; he is an environment. He is the barking of a dog; he is the noise of a piano; he is a dispute about a party wall; he is drains that are worse than yours, or roses that are better than yours.
View quote | Quotes about Neighbors

Nothing is poetical if plain daylight is not poetical; and no monster should amaze us if the normal man does not amaze.
View quote | Quotes about Normality

They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords. Lords without anger and honor, who dare not carry their swords. They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes; They look at our labor and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
View quote | Quotes about Oppression

My country wrong or right, is like saying my mother, drunk or sober.
View quote | Quotes about Patriotism

My country, right or wrong is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying My mother, drunk or sober.
View quote | Quotes about Patriotism

But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet. Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.
View quote | Quotes about People

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.
View quote | Quotes about Philanthropists

A new philosophy generally means in practice the praise of some old vice.
View quote | Quotes about Philosophers and Philosophy

The most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men.
View quote | Quotes about Philosophers and Philosophy

The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.
View quote | Quotes about Plays

Half a truth is better than no politics.
View quote | Quotes about Politicians and Politics

The honest poor can sometimes forget poverty. The honest rich can never forget it.
View quote | Quotes about Poverty and The Poor

If I had only one sermon to preach it would be a sermon against pride.
View quote | Quotes about Pride

It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem.
View quote | Quotes about Problems

New roads; new ruts.
View quote | Quotes about Progress

Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.
View quote | Quotes about Property

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.
View quote | Quotes about Publishing and Publishers

A puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things.
View quote | Quotes about Puritans

Facts as facts do not always create a spirit of reality, because reality is a spirit.
View quote | Quotes about Reality

The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. He is the man who has lost everything except his reason.
View quote | Quotes about Reason

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.
View quote | Quotes about Religion

The worst of work nowadays is what happens to people when they cease to work.
View quote | Quotes about Retirement

You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.
View quote | Quotes about Revolutions and Revolutionaries

The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.
View quote | Quotes about Riches

Among the very rich you will never find a really generous man, even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egoistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.
View quote | Quotes about Riches

Ritual will always mean throwing away something: destroying our corn or wine upon the altar of our gods.
View quote | Quotes about Ritual

Science in the modern world has many uses; its chief use, however, is to provide long words to cover the errors of the rich.
View quote | Quotes about Science and Scientists

The ordinary scientific man is strictly a sentimentalist. He is a sentimentalist in this essential sense, that he is soaked and swept away by mere associations.
View quote | Quotes about Science and Scientists

Silence is the unbearable repartee.
View quote | Quotes about Silence

All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry.
View quote | Quotes about Slang

Women prefer to talk in twos, while men prefer to talk in threes.
View quote | Quotes about Speakers and Speaking

A man does not know what he is saying until he knows what he is not saying.
View quote | Quotes about Speakers and Speaking

Some men never feel small, but these are the few men who are.
View quote | Quotes about Status

To be clever enough to get all the money, one must be stupid enough to want it.
View quote | Quotes about Stupidity

The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them.
View quote | Quotes about Taste

A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching.
View quote | Quotes about Teachers and Teaching

Artistic temperament is the disease that afflicts amateurs.
View quote | Quotes about Temperament

The man who throws a bomb is an artist, because he prefers a great moment to everything.
View quote | Quotes about Terrorism

Once I planned to write a book of poems entirely about the things in my pocket. But I found it would be too long; and the age of the great epics is past.
View quote | Quotes about Things and Little Things

How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.
View quote | Quotes about Thoughts and Thinking

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes -- our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking around.
View quote | Quotes about Tradition

The only way of catching a train I have ever discovered is to miss the train before.
View quote | Quotes about Trains

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist see what he has come to see.
View quote | Quotes about Travel and Tourism

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.
View quote | Quotes about Travel and Tourism

You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.
View quote | Quotes about Truth

Truth must necessarily be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind and therefore congenial to it.
View quote | Quotes about Truth

If you do not understand a man you cannot crush him. And if you do understand him, very probably you will not.
View quote | Quotes about Understanding

People in high life are hardened to the wants and distresses of mankind as surgeons are to their bodily pains.
View quote | Quotes about Understanding

Man seems to be capable of great virtues but not of small virtues; capable of defying his torturer but not of keeping his temper.
View quote | Quotes about Virtue

The chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a color. 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.
View quote | Quotes about Virtue

The average man votes below himself; he votes with half a mind or a hundredth part of one. A man ought to vote with the whole of himself, as he worships or gets married. A man ought to vote with his head and heart, his soul and stomach, his eye for faces and his ear for music; also (when sufficiently provoked) with his hands and feet. If he has ever seen a fine sunset, the crimson color of it should creep into his vote. The question is not so much whether only a minority of the electorate votes. The point is that only a minority of the voter votes.
View quote | Quotes about Voting

The vulgar man is always the most distinguished, for the very desire to be distinguished is vulgar.
View quote | Quotes about Vulgarity

If prosperity is regarded as the reward of virtue it will be regarded as the symptom of virtue.
View quote | Quotes about Wealth

There are many definite methods, honest and dishonest, which make people rich; the only instinct I know of which does it is that instinct which theological Christianity crudely describes as the sin of avarice.
View quote | Quotes about Wealth

Variability is one of the virtues of a woman. It avoids the crude requirement of polygamy. So long as you have one good wife you are sure to have a spiritual harem.
View quote | Quotes about Wives

The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder.
View quote | Quotes about Wonder

When we really worship anything, we love not only its clearness but its obscurity. We exult in its very invisibility.
View quote | Quotes about Worship

No man knows he is young while he is young.
View quote | Quotes about Youth

Chesterton, Gilbert K.

No biography at present.

145 quotations