Samuel Butler (novelist)

#27381 Samuel Butler (novelist)

The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about self
#27382 Samuel Butler (novelist)

"Words, words, words," he writes, "are the stumbling-blocks in the way of truth. Until you think of things as they are, and not of the words that misrepresent them, you cannot think rightly. Words produce the appearance of hard and fast lines where there are none. Words divide; thus we call this a man, that an ape, that a monkey, while they are all only differentiations of the same thing. To think of a thing they must be got rid of: they are the clothes that thoughts wear—only the clothes. I say this over and over again, for there is nothing of more importance. Other men's words will stop you at the beginning of an investigation. A man may play with words all his life, arranging them and rearranging them like dominoes. If I could think to you without words you would understand me better." .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about life
#27383 Samuel Butler (novelist)

A hen is only an 's way of making another egg. .

Samuel Butler (novelist)
#27384 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Stowed away in a Montreal lumber room The Discobolus standeth and turneth his face to the wall; Dusty, cobweb-covered, maimed and set at naught, Beauty crieth in an attic and no man regardeth: O God! O Montreal! .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about man
#27385 Samuel Butler (novelist)

The Discobolus is put here because he is vulgar — He has neither vest nor pants with which to cover his limbs. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about wit
#27386 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about men
#27387 Samuel Butler (novelist)

God's merits are so transcendent that it is not surprising his faults should be in reasonable proportion. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about reason
#27388 Samuel Butler (novelist)

It is the manner of gods and prophets to begin: "Thou shalt have none other God or Prophet but me." If I were to start as a God or a prophet I think I should take the line: "Thou shalt not believe in me. Thou shalt not have me for a God. Thou shalt worship any d_____d thing thou likest except me." This should be my first and great commandment, and my second should be like unto it. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about god
#27389 Samuel Butler (novelist)

The most important service rendered by the press and the magazines is that of educating people to approach printed matter with distrust. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about people
#27390 Samuel Butler (novelist)

One of the first businesses of a sensible man is to know when he is beaten, and to leave off fighting at once. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about business
#27391 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Sing, O goddess, the anger ofson of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about god
#27392 Samuel Butler (novelist)

To do great work a man must be very idle as well as very industrious. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about work
#27393 Samuel Butler (novelist)

The devil tempted Christ; yes, but it was Christ who tempted the devil to tempt him. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about evil
#27394 Samuel Butler (novelist)

First published in Universal Review (December 1890) .

Samuel Butler (novelist)
#27396 Samuel Butler (novelist)

We can see nothing face to face; our utmost seeing is but a fumbling of blind finger-ends in an overcrowded pocket. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about end
#27397 Samuel Butler (novelist)

The limits of the body seem well defined enough as definitions go, but definitions seldom go far. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about body
#27398 Samuel Butler (novelist)

We meet people every day whose bodies are evidently those of men and women long dead, but whose appearance we know through their portraits. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about women
#27399 Samuel Butler (novelist)

I do not like books. I believe I have the smallest library of any literary man in London, and I have no wish to increase it. I keep my books at the British Museum and at Mudie's, and it makes me very angry if anyone gives me one for my private library. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about books
#27400 Samuel Butler (novelist)

If a man would get hold of the public era, he must pay, marry, or fight. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about man
#27401 Samuel Butler (novelist)

I should not advise anyone with ordinary independence of mind to attempt the public ear unless he is confident that he can out-lung and out-last his own generation; for if he has any force, people will and ought to be on their guard against him, inasmuch as there is no knowing where he may not take them. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about people
#27402 Samuel Butler (novelist)

We do not know what death is. If we know so little about life which we have experienced, how shall be know about death which we have not — and in the nature of things never can? .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about life
#27403 Samuel Butler (novelist)

All we know is, that even the humblest dead may live along after all trace of the body has disappeared; we see them doing it in the bodies and memories of these that come after them; and not a few live so much longer and more effectually than is desirable, that it has been necessary to get rid of them by Act of Parliament. It is love that alone gives life, and the truest life is that which we live not in ourselves but vicariously in others, and with which we have no concern. Our concern is so to order ourselves that we may be of the number of them that enter into life — although we know it not. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about love
#27404 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Slugs have ridden their contempt for defensive armour as much to death as the turtles their pursuit of it. They have hardly more than skin enough to hold themselves together; they court death every time they cross the road. Yet death comes not to them more than to the turtle, whose defences are so great that there is little left inside to be defended. Moreover, the slugs fare best in the long run, for turtles are dying out, while slugs are not, and there must be millions of slugs all over the world over for every single turtle. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about death
#27405 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Propositions prey upon and are grounded upon one another just like living forms. They support one another as plants and animals do; they are based ultimately on credit, or faith, rather than the cash of irrefragable conviction. The whole universe is carried on on the credit system, and if the mutual confidence on which it is based were to collapse, it must itself collapse immediately. Just or unjust, it lives by faith; it is based on vague and impalpable opinion that by some inscrutable process passes into will and action, and is made manifest in matter and in flesh; it is meteoric — suspended in mid-air; it is the baseless fabric of a vision to vast, so vivid, and so gorgeous that no base can seem more broad than such stupendous baselessness, and yet any man can bring it about his ears by being over-curious; when faith fails, a system based on faith fails also. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about faith
#27406 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Whether the universe is really a paying concern, or whether it is an inflated bubble that must burst sooner or later, this is another matter. If people were to demand cash payment in irrefragable certainty for everything that they have taken hitherto as paper money on the credit of the bank of public opinion, is there money enough behind it all to stand so great a drain even on so great a reserve? .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about people
#27407 Samuel Butler (novelist)

By a merciful dispensation of Providence university training is almost as costly as it is unprofitable. The majority will thus be always unable to afford it, and will base their opinions on mother wit and current opinion rather than on demonstration. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about mother
#27408 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about art
#27409 Samuel Butler (novelist)

All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about art
#27410 Samuel Butler (novelist)

We play out our days as we play out cards, taking them as they come, not knowing what they will be, hoping for a lucky card and sometimes getting one, often getting just the wrong one. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about time
#27411 Samuel Butler (novelist)

There is an eternal antagonism of interest between the individual and the world at large. The individual will not so much care how much he may suffer in this world provided he can live in men’s good thoughts long after he has left it. The world at large does not so much care how much suffering the individual may either endure or cause in this life, provided he will take himself clean away out of men’s thoughts, whether for good or ill, when he has left it. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about life
#27412 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Life is the gathering of waves to a head, at death they break into a million fragments each one of which, however, is absorbed at once into the sea of life and helps to form a later generation which comes rolling on till it too breaks. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about life
#27413 Samuel Butler (novelist)

The true laws of God are the laws of our own well-being. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about law
#27414 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Intellectual over-indulgence is the most gratuitous and disgraceful form which excess can take, nor is there any the consequences of which are more disastrous. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about grace
#27415 Samuel Butler (novelist)

The extremes of vice and virtue are alike detestable; absolute virtue is as sure to kill a man as absolute vice is, let alone the dullnesses of it and the pomposities of it. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about man
#27416 Samuel Butler (novelist)

God does not intend people, and does not like people, to be too good. He likes them neither too good nor too bad, but a little too bad is more venial with him than a little too good. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about people
#27417 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Sin is like a mountain with two aspects according to whether it is viewed before or after it has been reached: yet both aspects are real. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about wit
#27418 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Morality turns on whether the pleasure precedes or follows the pain. Thus, it is immoral to get drunk because the headache comes after the drinking, but if the headache came first, and the drunkenness afterwards, it would be moral to get drunk. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about war
#27419 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Morality is the custom of one’s country and the current feeling of one’s peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibal country. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about feeling
#27420 Samuel Butler (novelist)

To love God is to have good health, good looks, good sense, experience, a kindly nature and a fair balance of cash in hand. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about love
#27421 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Is there any religion whose followers can be pointed to as distinctly more amiable and trustworthy than those of any other? If so, this should be enough. I find the nicest and best people generally profess no religion at all, but are ready to like the best men of all religions. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about religion
#27422 Samuel Butler (novelist)

is the work of the best and kindest men and the work of prigs, pedants and professional truth-tellers. The world is an attempt to make the best of both. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about truth
#27423 Samuel Butler (novelist)

If we are asked what is the most essential characteristic that underlies this word, the word itself will guide us to gentleness, to absence of such things as brow-beating, overbearing manners and fuss, and generally to consideration for other people. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about people
#27424 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Money is the last enemy that shall never be subdued. While there is flesh there is money — or the want of money; but money is always on the brain so long as there is a brain in reasonable order. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about money
#27425 Samuel Butler (novelist)

We take it that when the state of things shall have arrived which we have been above attempting to describe, man will have become to the machine what the horse and the dog are to man. He will continue to exist, nay even to improve, and will be probably better off in his state of domestication under the beneficent rule of the machines than he is in his present wild state. We treat our horses, dogs, cattle and sheep, on the whole, with great kindness, we give them whatever experience teaches us to be best for them, and there can be no doubt that our use of meat has added to the happiness of the lower animals far more than it has detracted from it; in like manner it is reasonable to suppose that the machines will treat us kindly, for their existence is as dependent upon ours as ours is upon the lower animals. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about happiness
#27426 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Day by day, however, the machines are gaining ground upon us; day by day we are becoming more subservient to them; more men are daily bound down as slaves to tend them, more men are daily devoting the energies of their whole lives to the development of mechanical life. The upshot is simply a question of time, but that the time will come when the machines will hold the real supremacy over the world and its inhabitants is what no person of a truly philosophic mind can for a moment question. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about life
#27427 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Our opinion is that war to the death should be instantly proclaimed against them. Every machine of every sort should be destroyed by the well-wisher of his species. Let there be no exceptions made, no quarter shown; let us at once go back to the primeval condition of the race. If it be urged that this is impossible under the present condition of human affairs, this at once proves that the mischief is already done, that our servitude has commenced in good earnest, that we have raised a race of beings whom it is beyond our power to destroy and that we are not only enslaved but are absolutely acquiescent in our bondage. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about death
#27428 Samuel Butler (novelist)

To be is to think and to be thinkable. To live is to continue thinking and to remember having done so. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about thinking
#27429 Samuel Butler (novelist)

Memory and forgetfulness are as life and death to one another. To live is to remember and to remember is to live. To die is to forget and to forget is to die. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about life
#27430 Samuel Butler (novelist)

We are so far identical with our ancestors and our contemporaries that it is very rarely we can see anything that they do not see. It is not unjust that the sins of the fathers should be visited upon the children, for the children committed the sins when in the persons of their fathers. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about children
#27431 Samuel Butler (novelist)

All thinking is of disturbance, dynamical, a state of unrest tending towards equilibrium. It is all a mode of classifying and of criticising with a view of knowing whether it gives us, or is likely to give us, pleasure or no. .

Samuel Butler (novelist) Quotes about war

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