"Even people whose lives have been made various by learning, sometimes find it hard to keep a fast hold on their habitual views oflife, on their faith in the Invisible--nay, on the sense that their past joys and sorrows are a real experience, when they are suddenly transported to a new land, where by beings around them know nothing of their history, and share none of their ideas--where their mother earth shows another lap, and human life has other forms than those on which their souls have been nourished. Minds that have been unhinged from their old faith and love, have perhaps sought this Lethean influence of exile, in which the past becomes dreamy because its symbols have all vanished, and the present too is dreamy because it is linked with no memories."
"There are moods in which we court suffering, in the hope that here, at least, we shall find reality, sharp peaks and edges of truth. But it turns out to be scene-painting and counterfeit. The only thing grief has taught me, is to know how shallow it is."
"The criterion which we use to test the genuineness of apparent statements of fact is the criterion of verifyability. We say that asentence is factually significant to any given person, if, and only if, he knows how to verify the proposition which it purports to express--that is, if he knows what observations would lead him, under certain conditions, to accept the proposition as true, or reject it as being false.... To make our position clearer, we may formulate it in another way. Let us call a proposition which records an actual or possible observation an experiential proposition. Then we may say that it is the mark of a genuine factual proposition, not that it should be equivalent to an experiential proposition, or any finite number of experiential propositions, but simply that some experiential propositions can be deduced from it in conjunction with certain other premises without being deducible from those other premises alone."
"Only he who can view his own past as an abortion sprung from compulsion and need can use it to full advantage in the present. Forwhat one has lived is at best comparable to a beautiful statue which has had all its limbs knocked off in transit, and now yields nothing but the precious block out of which the image of one's future must be hewn."
"That food nourishes, sleep refreshes, and fire warms us; that to sow in the seed-time is the way to reap in the harvest, and, in general, that to obtain such or such ends, such or such means are conducive, all this we know, not by discovering any necessary connexion between our ideas, but only by the observation of the settled laws of nature, without which we should be all in uncertainty and confusion, and a grown man no more know how to manage himself in the affairs of life than an infant just born."
"No one of the characters in my novels has originated, so far as I know, in real life. If anything, the contrary was the case: persons playing a part in my life--the first twenty years of it--had about them something semi-fictitious."
"The writer, like a swimmer caught by an undertow, is borne in an unexpected direction. He is carried to a subject which has awaited him--a subject sometimes no part of his conscious plan. Reality, the reality of sensation, has accumulated where it was least sought. To write is to be captured--captured by some experience to which one may have given hardly a thought."
"When I read a story, I relive the moment from which it sprang. A scene burned itself into me, a building magnetized me, a mood orseason of Nature's penetrated me, history suddenly appeared to me in some tiny act, or a face had begun to haunt me before I glanced at it."