William James
Quotations


If merely "feeling good" could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.

It is well for the world that in most of us, by the age of thirty, the character has set like plaster, and will never soften again.

A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.

Our esteem for facts has not neutralized in us all religiousness. It is itself almost religious. Our scientific temper is devout.

Knowledge about life is one thing; effective occupation of a place in life, with its dynamic currents passing through your being, is another.

We are doomed to cling to a life even while we find it unendurable.

When we of the so-called better classes are scared as men were never scared in history at material ugliness and hardship; when we put off marriage until our house can be artistic, and quake at the thought of having a child without a bank-account and doomed to manual labor, it is time for thinking men to protest against so unmanly and irreligious a state of opinion.

Metaphysics means nothing but an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly.

The prevalent fear of poverty among the educated classes is the worst moral disease from which our civilization suffers.

If the grace of God miraculously operates, it probably operates through the subliminal door.

For morality life is a war, and the service of the highest is a sort of cosmic patriotism which also calls for volunteers.

As there is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it, so reasonable arguments, challenges to magnanimity, and appeals to sympathy or justice, are folly when we are dealing with human crocodiles and boa-constrictors.

To be a real philosopher all that is necessary is to hate some one else's type of thinking.

I know that you, ladies and gentlemen, have a philosophy, each and all of you, and that the most interesting and important thing about you is the way in which it determines the perspective in your several worlds.

Philosophy is at once the most sublime and the most trivial of human pursuits.

We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise anyone who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition.

No more fiendish punishment could be devised, were such a thing physically possible, than that one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed.

A man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him.

Every man who possibly can should force himself to a holiday of a full month in a year, whether he feels like taking it or not.



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