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In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.
When I was fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. When I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.
If you take a dog which is starving and feed him and make him prosperous, that dog will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a dog and a man.
Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
An Englishman is a person who does things because they have been done before. An American is a person who does things because they haven't been done before.
A person whom Mark had small regard for, said: Mark, I recently chanced to pass by your house. To which Mark dryly replied: And may you always continue to do so.
At the beginning of a great national change, the patriot is a scarce man: scorned, ridiculed and forgotten. When his cause succeeds, however, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.
Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let me label you as they may.
He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it - namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.
Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.
October is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. Others are July, January, April, September, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.
Sane and intelligent human beings are like all other human beings, and carefully and cautiously and diligently conceal their private real opinions from the world and give out fictitious ones in their stead for general consumption.
Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.
The history of our race, and each individual's experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal.
A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.
Behold, the fool saith, Put not all thine eggs in the one basket, -- which is but a manner of saying, Scatter your money and your attention, but the wise man saith, Put all your eggs in the one basket and -- watch that basket.
After all these years I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.
I admire the serene assurance of those who have religious faith. It is wonderful to observe the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces.
A house without a cat, and a well-fed, well-petted, and properly revered cat, may be a perfect house, perhaps, but how can it prove its title --from The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson
Describing her first day back in grade school after a long absence, a teacher said, It was like trying to hold 35 corks under water at the same time.
The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are right.
Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.
Imagination is always the fabric of social life and the dynamic of history. The influence of real needs and compulsions, of real interests and materials, is indirect because the crowd is never conscious of it.
The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.
[He was] a solemn, unsmiling, sanctimonious old iceberg who looked like he was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity.
Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.
Do something every day that you don't want to do. This is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.
A verb has a hard enough time of it in this world when it is all together. It's downright inhuman to split it up. But that's what those Germans do. They take part of a verb and put it down here, like a stake, and they take the other part of it and put it a way over yonder like another stake, and between these two limits they just shovel in German.
He would come in and say he changed his mind -- which was a gilded figure of speech, because he didn't have any.
Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
An enemy can partly ruin a man, but it takes a good-natured injudicious friend to complete the thing and make it perfect.
In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language.
So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.
Drag your thoughts away from your troubles.. by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.
Now what I contend is that my body is my own, at least I have always so regarded it. If I do harm through my experimenting with it, it is I who suffers, not the state.
The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.
We are always more anxious to be distinguished for a talent which we do not possess, than to be praised for the fifteen which we do possess.
We are chameleons, and our partialities and prejudices change place with an easy and blessed facility, and we are soon wonted to the change and happy in it.
It could probably be show by facts and figures that there is no distinctively native American criminal class except Congress.
All schools, all colleges have two great functions to confer, and to conceal valuable knowledge. - Notebook, 1908
It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you: the one to slander you, and the other to bring the news to you.
Religion consists of a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain.
There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals to good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift men to angelship.
Lord save us all from old age and broken health and a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.
I've come loaded with statistics, for I've noticed that a man can't prove anything without statistics.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
In our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.
Youth, large, lusty, loving- Youth, full of grace, force, fascination. Do you know that Old Age may come after you with equal grace, force, fascination
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"--a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.
George Washington as a boy was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth - he could not even lie.
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. (Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.)
Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.
How come we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.
I am prepared to meet anyone, but whether anyone is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
I cannot call to mind a single instance where I have ever been irreverent, except toward the things which were sacred to other people.
I have a prejudice against people who print things in a foreign language and add no translation. When I am the reader, and the other considers me able to do the translating myself, he pays me the quite a nice compliment-- but if he would do the translating for me I would try to get along without the compliment. (A Tramp Abroad,1880)
I have never examined the subject of humor until now. I am surprised to find how much ground it covers. I have got its divisions and frontiers down on a piece of paper. I find it defined as a production of the brain, as the power of the brain to produce something humorous, and the capacity of percieving humor.
I never write Metropolis for seven cents because I can get the same price for city. I never write policeman because I can get the same money for cop.
I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.
In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.
In Marseilles they make half the toilet soap we consume in America, but the Marseillaise only have a vague theoretical idea of its use, which they have obtained from books of travel.
In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.
It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.
It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.
It is discouraging to try and penetrate a mind like yours. You ought to get it out and dance on it. That would take some of the rigidity out of it.
It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you the one to slander you, and the other to get the news to you.
It were not best that we should all think alike it is the difference of opinion that makes horse races. - from Pudd'nhead Wilson
Just the omission of Jane Austen's books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it.
Laws are sand, customs are rock. Laws can be evaded and punishment escaped but an openly transgressed custom brings sure punishment.
Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.
Of the delights of this world man cares most for sexual intercourse, yet he has left it out of his heaven.
On his deathbed Death, the only immortal who treats us all alike, whose pity and whose peace and whose refuse are for all -- the soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved.
Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain of.
Some men worship rank, some worship heroes, some worship power, some worship God, and over these ideals they dispute, but they all worship money.
Statistics show that we lose more fools on this day than on all other days of the year put together. This proves, by the numbers left in stock, that one Fourth of July per year is now inadequate, the country has grown so.
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.
The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.
The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the prompting of a brave, determined spirit.
There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable, and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.
There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn't because the book is not there and worth being written -- it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself.
There are two times in a man's life when he should not speculate when he can't afford it, and when he can. - from Following the Equator
There is no such thing as the Queen's English. The property has gone into the hands of a joint stock company and we own the bulk of the shares
There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.
Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do…
We are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift, our personal association, which means so much to them, we give grudgingly.
We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented, which was human liberty.
We had the sky up there, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss whether they was made or just happened.
We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read.
We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Adam, the first great benefactor of the human race: he brought death into the world.
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again - and that is well but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.
What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, what counts is the size of the fight in the dog.
When a person cannot deceive himself the chances are against his being able to deceive other people.
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
When I was a child people simply looked about them and were moderately happy today they peer beyond the seven seas, bury themselves waist deep in tidings, and by and large what they see and hear makes them unutterably sad.
When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet deep down in his private heart no man much respects himself.
Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him until he emerges on the other side of his atlantic with his verb in his mouth.
Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
…[I]n order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.