"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."
"Hume's doctrine was that the circumstances vary, the amount of happiness does not; that the beggar cracking fleas in the sunshineunder a hedge, and the duke rolling by in his chariot; the girl equipped for her first ball, and the orator returning triumphant from the debate, had different means, but the same quantity of pleasant excitement."
"... you have to have been desperately unhappy before you can play comedy, so that nothing can frighten you any more. And you can'tdo tragedy before you know absolute happiness, because having known that, you are safe."
"When I was in grade school and we had to write papers about what we wanted to be when we grew up, I wanted to be a social worker or a missionary or a teacher. Then I got involved with tennis, and everything was just me, me, me. I was totally selfish and thought about myself and nobody else, because if you let up for one minute, someone was going to come along and beat you. I really wouldn't let anyone or any slice of happiness enter.... I didn't like the characteristics that it took to become a champion."
"In tennis, at the end of the day you're a winner or a loser. You know exactly where you stand.... I don't need that anymore. I don't need my happiness, my well-being, to be based on winning and losing."
"But the whim we have of happiness is somewhat thus. By certain valuations, and averages, of our own striking, we come upon some sort of average terrestrial lot; this we fancy belongs to us by nature, and of indefeasible rights. It is simple payment of our wages, of our deserts; requires neither thanks nor complaint.... Foolish soul! What act of legislature was there that thou shouldst be happy? A little while ago thou hadst no right to be at all."
"To me it seems that to give happiness is a far nobler goal that to attain it: and that what we exist for is much more a matter ofrelations to others than a matter of individual progress: much more a matter of helping others to heaven than of getting there ourselves."
"I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and feltit, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep."
"...what a thing it is to lie there all day in the fine breeze, with the pine needles dropping on one, only to return to the hotelat night so hungry that the dinner, however homely, is a fete, and the menu finer reading than the best poetry in the world! Yet we are to leave all this for the glare and blaze of Nice and Monte Carlo; which is proof enough that one cannot become really acclimated to happiness."
"One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, atthe world's end somewhere, and hold fast to the days, as to fortune or fame."