"Were a stranger to drop on a sudden into this world, I would shew him, as a specimen of its ills, an hospital full of diseases, aprison crowded with malefactors and debtors, a field of battle strewed with carcases, a fleet foundering in the ocean, a nation languishing under tyranny, famine, or pestilence. To turn the gay side of life to him and give him a notion of its pleasures; whither should I conduct him? to a ball, to an opera, to court? He might justly think, that I was only shewing him a diversity of distress and sorrow."
"Labour and poverty, so abhorred by every one, are the certain lot of the far greater number: And those few privileged persons, whoenjoy ease and opulence, never reach contentment or true felicity. All the goods of life united would not make a very happy man: But all the ills united would make a wretch indeed; and any one of them almost (and who can be free from every one), nay often the absence of one good (and who can possess all) is sufficient to render life ineligible."
"The great end of all human industry is the attainment of happiness. For this were arts invented, sciences cultivated, laws ordained, and societies modelled, by the most profound wisdom of patriots and legislators. Even the lonely savage, who lies exposed to the inclemency of the elements and the fury of wild beasts, forgets not, for a moment, this grand object of his being."
"He could walk, or rather turn about in his little garden, and feel more solid happiness from the flourishing of a cabbage or the growing of a turnip than was ever received from the most ostentatious show the vanity of man could possibly invent. He could delight himself with thinking, "Here will I set such a root, because my Camilla likes it; here, such another, because it is my little David's favorite."
"Would mankind be but contented without the continual use of that little but significant pronoun "mine" or "my own," with what luxurious delight might they revel in the property of others!... But if envy makes me sicken at the sight of everything that is excellent out of my own possession, then will the sweetest food be sharp as vinegar, and every beauty will in my depraved eyes appear as deformity."
"Why is it that people refuse, or are unwilling, to go back to a place where once they have been happy? If you ask them, they willsay that they do not want to spoil a beautiful memory, or that nothing can ever be the same (a wonderful thing can only happen once!).... Actually I think they may feel afraid that they will be disillusioned, if indeed they have had to convince themselves that a privately dull or ugly event was indeed a glamourous one. Or they may suspect that they are less attractive than they wanted to be, or that the other people are."
"...I never thought of anything but a long full life with my love, but a heavy foreboding hit me about two years into this plannedbliss, when he said firmly that we must never go back to the fishing village where we had spent our first Christmas. And a cruel mixture of disbelief and sadness filled me as I came to understand how thoroughly and firmly he stood by his conviction, that if people know real happiness anywhere, they must never expect to find it there again.... So that year we went to Nuremberg, and the next year Strasbourg and and and, but we never returned to any place we had been before, because once, according to his private calendar, we had been there. And in a few more years we parted. You might say that we ran out of places."
"When men and women across the country reported how happy they felt, researchers found that jugglers were happier than others. By and large, the more roles, the greater the happiness. Parents were happier than nonparents, and workers were happier than nonworkers. Married people were much happier than unmarried people. Married people were generally at the top of the emotional totem pole."
"Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness."
"Shall I give you my recipe for happiness? I find everything useful and nothing indispensable. I find everything wonderful and nothing miraculous. I reverence the body. I avoid first causes like the plague."
"The secret of culture is to learn, that a few great points steadily reappear, alike in the poverty of the obscurest farm, and in the miscellany of metropolitan life, and that these few are alone to be regarded,--the escape from all false ties; courage to be what we are; and love what is simple and beautiful; independence and cheerful relation, these are the essentials,--these, and the wish to serve,--to add somewhat to the well-being of men."