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I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.
That all men are equal is a proposition which, at ordinary times, no sane individual has ever given his assent.
The finest works of art are precious, among other reasons, because they make it possible for us to know, if only imperfectly and for a little while, what it actually feels like to think subltly and feel nobly.
The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.
The older dictators fell because they could never supply their subjects with enough bread, enough circuses, enough miracles and mysteries. Nor did they posses a really effective system of mind-manipulation. Under a scientific dictator, education will rea
Abused as we abuse it at present, dramatic art is in no sense cathartic it is merely a form of emotional masturbation. It is the rarest thing to find a player who has not had his character affected for the worse by the practice of his profession. Nobody can make a habit of self-exhibition, nobody can exploit his personality for the sake of exercising a kind of hypnotic power over others, and remain untouched by the process.
A country which proposes to make use of modern war as an instrument of policy must possess a highly centralized, all-powerful executive, hence the absurdity of talking about the defense of democracy by force of arms. A democracy which makes or effectively prepares for modern scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic.
Art is one of the means whereby man seeks to redeem a life which is experienced as chaotic, senseless, and largely evil.
At least two-thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religous or political ideas.
Classic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. ROLLING IN THE MUCK IS NOT THE BEST WAY OF GETTING CLEAN.
Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead.
From their experience or from the recorded experience of others (history), men learn only what their passions and their metaphysical prejudices allow them to learn.
Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness it is generally the by-product of other activities.
If the Prince of Peace should come to earth, one of the first things he would do would be to put psychiatrists in their place.
My fate cannot be mastered it can only be collaborated with and thereby, to some extent, directed. Nor am I the captain of my soul I am only its noisiest passenger.
One of the great attractions of patriotism -- it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous.
Such prosperity as we have known up to the present is the consequence of rapidly spending the planet's irreplaceable capital.
That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.
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.
The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.
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.
The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
The thin and precarious crust of decency is all that separates any civilization, however impressive, from the hell of anarchy or systematic tyranny which lie in wait beneath the surface.
The vast majority of human beings dislike and even dread all notions with which they are not familiar. Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have always been devided as fools and madmen.
There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that is your own self. So you have to begin there, not outside, not on other people. That comes afterwards, when you have worked on your own corner.
To us, the moment 8:17 A.M. means something - something very important, if it happens to be the starting time of our daily train. To our ancestors, such an odd eccentric instant was without significance - did not even exist. In inventing the locomotive, Watt and Stevenson were part inventors of time.
We are living now, not in the delicious intoxication induced by the early successes of science, but in a rather grisly morning-after, when it has become apparent that what triumphant science has done hitherto is to improve the means for achieving unimproved or actually deteriorated ends.
We are long before we are convinced that happiness is never to be found, and each believes it possessed by others, to keep alive the hope of obtaining it for himself.
When one's ill or unhappy, one needs something outside oneself to hold one up. It is a good thing, I think, when one has been knocked out of one's balance . to have some external job or duty to hang on to.
You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but now, as yet, intelligent enough.
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