"... that's what living happens to be ... the physiological denial of reverence and good manners and Christianity.... At your age one's quite old enough to know what the essence of life really is. Shamelessness, that's all; pure shamelessness."
"I will have no Parsons around me but such as drink deep, ride to Hounds and caress the Wives and Daughters of their Parishioners. A Virtuous Parson does nothing to test or exercise the Faith of his Flock."
"The people who make wars, the people who reduce their fellows to slavery, the people who kill and torture and tell lies in the name of their sacred causes, the really evil people in a word--these are never the publicans and the sinners. No, they're the virtuous, respectable men, who have the finest feelings, the best brains, the noblest ideals."
"You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion.... Dogs do not ritually urinate in the hope of persuading heaven to do the same and send down rain. Asses do not bray a liturgy to cloudless skies. Nor do cats attempt, by abstinence from cat's meat, to wheedle the feline spirits into benevolence. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough."
"Your true traveller finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty--his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure."
"Life's so ordinary that literature has to deal with the exceptional. Exceptional talent, power, social position, wealth.... Drama begins where there's freedom of choice. And freedom of choice begins when social or psychological conditions are exceptional. That's why the inhabitants of imaginative literature have always been recruited from the pages of Who's Who."
"Books have their destinies like men. And their fates, as made by generations of readers, are very different from the destinies foreseen for them by their authors. Gulliver's Travels, with a minimum of expurgation, has become a children's book; a new illustrated edition is produced every Christmas. That's what comes of saying profound things about humanity in terms of a fairy story."
"A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy."
"Experience is not a matter of having actually swum the Hellespont, or danced with the dervishes, or slept in a doss- house. It isa matter of sensibility and intuition, of seeing and hearing the significant things, of paying attention at the right moments, of understanding and co-ordinating. Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him."
"The inconveniences and horrors of the pox are perfectly well known to every one; but still the disease flourishes and spreads. Several million people were killed in a recent war and half the world ruined; but we all busily go on in courses that make another event of the same sort inevitable. Experientia docet? Experientia doesn't."
"It was one of those evenings when men feel that truth, goodness and beauty are one. In the morning, when they commit their discovery to paper, when others read it written there, it looks wholly ridiculous."