''Amour is the one human activity of any importance in which laughter and pleasure preponderate, if ever so slightly, over misery and pain.''
''Perhaps it's good for one to suffer.... Can an artist do anything if he's happy? Would he ever want to do anything? What is art, after all, but a protest against the horrible inclemency of life?''
''The quality of moral behaviour varies in inverse ratio to the number of human beings involved.''
''If only people would realize that moral principles are like measles.... They have to be caught. And only the people who've got them can pass on the contagion.''
''Cynical realism—it's the intelligent man's best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation.''
''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.''
''Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions; it's walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too.''
''What we feel and think and are is to a great extent determined by the state of our ductless glands and viscera.''
''Man approaches the unattainable truth through a succession of errors.''
''If human beings were shown what they're really like, they'd either kill one another as vermin, or hang themselves.''
''Oh, how desperately bored, in spite of their grim determination to have a Good Time, the majority of pleasure-seekers really are!''
''Sons have always a rebellious wish to be disillusioned by that which charmed their fathers.''
''That all men are equal is a proposition to which, at ordinary times, no sane human being has ever given his assent.''
''Europe is so well gardened that it resembles a work of art, a scientific theory, a neat metaphysical system. Man has re-created Europe in his own image.''
''Pure Spirit, one hundred degrees proof—that's a drink that only the most hardened contemplation-guzzlers indulge in. Bodhisattvas dilute their Nirvana with equal parts of love and work.''
''After all, what is reading but a vice, like drink or venery or any other form of excessive self-indulgence? One reads to tickle and amuse one's mind; one reads, above all, to prevent oneself thinking.''
''Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.''
''The poet's place, it seems to me, is with the Mr. Hydes of human nature.''
''What with making their way and enjoying what they have won, heroes have no time to think. But the sons of heroes—ah, they have all the necessary leisure.''
''A bad book is as much of a labour to write as a good one; it comes as sincerely from the author's soul.''
''Silence is as full of potential wisdom and wit as the unhewn marble of great sculpture. The silent bear no witness against themselves.''
''The impulse to cruelty is, in many people, almost as violent as the impulse to sexual love—almost as violent and much more mischievous.''
''I can sympathise with people's pains, but not with their pleasures. There is something curiously boring about somebody else's happiness.''
''Ignore death up to the last moment; then, when it can't be ignored any longer, have yourself squirted full of morphia and shuffle off in a coma. Thoroughly sensible, humane and scientific, eh?''
''The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.''
''Proverbs are always platitudes until you have personally experienced the truth of them.''
''But a priest's life is not supposed to be well-rounded; it is supposed to be one-pointed—a compass, not a weathercock.''
''Man is an intelligence, not served by, but in servitude to his organs.''
''Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.''
''There are few who would not rather be taken in adultery than in provincialism.''
''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.''
''Civilization means food and literature all round. Beefsteaks and fiction magazines for all. First-class proteins for the body, fourth-class love-stories for the spirit.''
''Indifference to all the refinements of life—it's really shocking. Just Calvinism, that's all. Calvinism without the excuse of Calvin's theology.''
''The course of every intellectual, if he pursues his journey long and unflinchingly enough, ends in the obvious, from which the nonintellectuals have never stirred.''
''The business of a seer is to see; and if he involves himself in the kind of God-eclipsing activities which make seeing impossible, he betrays the trust which his fellows have tacitly placed in him.''
''It's with bad sentiments that one makes good novels.''
''The philosophy of action for action, power for the sake of power, had become an established orthodoxy. "Thou has conquered, O go-getting Babbitt."''
''Everyone who wants to do good to the human race always ends in universal bullying.''
''Like every other good thing in this world, leisure and culture have to be paid for. Fortunately, however, it is not the leisured and the cultured who have to pay.''
''If Men and Women took their Pleasures as noisily as the Cats, what Londoner could ever hope to sleep of nights?''
''Now, a corpse, poor thing, is an untouchable and the process of decay is, of all pieces of bad manners, the vulgarest imaginable. For a corpse is, by definition, a person absolutely devoid of savoir vivre.''
''So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.''
''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.''
''Bondage is the life of personality, and for bondage the personal self will fight with tireless resourcefulness and the most stubborn cunning.''
''You should hurry up ... and acquire the cigar habit. It's one of the major happinesses. And so much more lasting than love, so much less costly in emotional wear and tear.''
''Official dignity tends to increase in inverse ratio to the importance of the country in which the office is held.''
''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.''
''The condition of being forgiven is self-abandonment. The proud man prefers self-reproach, however painful—because the reproached self isn't abandoned; it remains intact.''
''People will insist on treating the mons Veneris as though it were Mount Everest. Too silly!''
''Most of one's life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself thinking.''
''Dying is almost the least spiritual of our acts, more strictly carnal even than the act of love. There are Death Agonies that are like the strainings of the Costive at stool.''
''Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.''
''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 rumour.''
''All urbanization, pushed beyond a certain point, automatically becomes suburbanization.... Every great city is just a collection of suburbs. Its inhabitants ... do not live in their city; they merely inhabit it.''
''Official dignity tends to increase in inverse ratio to the importance of the country in which the office is held.''
''A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will's freedom after it.''
''The philosophy of action for action, power for the sake of power, had become an established orthodoxy. "Thou has conquered, O go-getting Babbitt."''
''There are few who would not rather be taken in adultery than in provincialism.''
''It was one of those evenings when men feel that truth, goodness and beauty are one. In the morning, when they commit their discovery to paper, when others read it written there, it looks wholly ridiculous.''
''De Sade is the one completely consistent and thoroughgoing revolutionary of history.''
''Thought must be divided against itself before it can come to any knowledge of itself.''
''Idealism is the noble toga that political gentlemen drape over their will to power.''
''Isn't it remarkable how everyone who knew Lawrence has felt compelled to write about him? Why, he's had more books written about him than any writer since Byron!''
''It had the taste of an apple peeled with a steel knife.''
''Where beauty is worshipped for beauty's sake as a goddess, independent of and superior to morality and philosophy, the most horrible putrefaction is apt to set in. The lives of the aesthetes are the far from edifying commentary on the religion of beauty.''
''Specialized meaninglessness has come to be regarded, in certain circles, as a kind of hall-mark of true science.''
''A large city cannot be experientially known; its life is too manifold for any individual to be able to participate in it.''
''Facts are ventriloquists' dummies. Sitting on a wise man's knee they may be made to utter words of wisdom; elsewhere, they say nothing, or talk nonsense, or indulge in sheer diabolism.''
''An ideal is merely the projection, on an enormously enlarged scale, of some aspect of personality.''
''Defined in psychological terms, a fanatic is a man who consciously over-compensates a secret doubt.''
''Henri IV's feet and armpits enjoyed an international reputation.''
''Those who believe that they are exclusively in the right are generally those who achieve something.''
''Which is better: to have Fun with Fungi or to have Idiocy with Ideology, to have Wars because of Words, to have Tomorrow's Misdeeds out of Yesterday's Miscreeds?''
''Good is a product of the ethical and spiritual artistry of individuals; it cannot be mass-produced.''
''Words, words, words! They shut one off from the universe. Three quarters of the time one's never in contact with things, only with the beastly words that stand for them.''
''There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.''
''Happiness is a hard master—particularly other people's happiness.''
''Feasts must be solemn and rare, or else they cease to be feasts.''
''I'm afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.''