''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.''
''The chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a colour. 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.''
''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.''
''The most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men.''
''Art consists of limitation.... The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.''
''The vulgar man is always the most distinguished, for the very desire to be distinguished is vulgar.''
''If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.''
''It is as healthy to enjoy sentiment as to enjoy jam.''
''Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.''
''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.''
''The mere brute pleasure of reading—the sort of pleasure a cow must have in grazing.''
''A puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things.''
''An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.''
''With any recovery from morbidity there must go a certain healthy humiliation.''
''When we really worship anything, we love not only its clearness but its obscurity. We exult in its very invisibility.''
''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.''
''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.''
''One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.''
''The man who throws a bomb is an artist, because he prefers a great moment to everything.''
''Buddhism is not a creed, it is a doubt.''
''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.''
''Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.''
''A new philosophy generally means in practice the praise of some old vice.''
''Nothing is poetical if plain daylight is not poetical; and no monster should amaze us if the normal man does not amaze.''
''A radical generally meant a man who thought he could somehow pull up the root without affecting the flower. A conservative generally meant a man who wanted to conserve everything except his own reason for conserving anything.''
''Happiness is a mystery, like religion, and should never be rationalised.''
''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.''
''What affects men sharply about a foreign nation is not so much finding or not finding familiar things; it is rather not finding them in the familiar place.''
''Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers another.''
''What people call impartiality may simply mean indifference, and what people call partiality may simply mean mental activity.''
''If our caricaturists do not hate their enemies, it is not because they are too big to hate them, but because their enemies are not big enough to hate.''
''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."''
''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.''
''The perplexity of life arises from there being too many interesting things in it for us to be interested properly in any of them.''
''All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry.''
''All good men are international. Nearly all bad men are cosmopolitan. If we are to be international we must be national.''
''Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.''
''Half a truth is better than no politics.''
''There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.''
''Cruelty is, perhaps, the worst kid of sin. Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst kind of cruelty.''
''Brave men are all vertebrates; they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle.''
''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.''
''"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."''
''Facts as facts do not always create a spirit of reality, because reality is a spirit.''
''If you do not understand a man you cannot crush him. And if you do understand him, very probably you will not.''
''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.''
''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.''
''All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.''
''If prosperity is regarded as the reward of virtue it will be regarded as the symptom of virtue.''
''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.''
''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.''
''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.''
''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.''
''The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.''
''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.''
''The greenhorn is the ultimate victor in everything; it is he that gets the most out of life.''
''Science in the modern world has many uses; its chief use, however, is to provide long words to cover the errors of the rich.''
''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.''
''The only way of catching a train I have ever discovered is to miss the train before.''
''Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc.''
''White ... is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black.... God paints in many colours; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white.''
''The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.''
''The honest poor can sometimes forget poverty. The honest rich can never forget it.''
''Your next-door neighbour ... is not a man; he is an environment. He is the barking of a dog; he is the noise of a pianola; he is a dispute about a party wall; he is drains that are worse than yours, or roses that are better than yours.''
''The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.''
''The cosmos is about the smallest hole that a man can hide his head in.''
''Ritual will always mean throwing away something: destroying our corn or wine upon the altar of our gods.''
''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.''
''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.''
''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.''
''Man seems to be capable of great virtues but not of small virtues; capable of defying his torturer but not of keeping his temper.''
''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.''
''The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.''
''You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.''
''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.''
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