"Were I to buy this life of pleasure and this only chance at happiness with a few little dangers, where would be the harm? And wouldn't it still be fortunate to find a weak excuse to give her proof of my love?"
"There is a plain distinction to be made betwixt pleasure and happiness. For tho' there can be no happiness without pleasure--yet the converse of the proposition will not hold true.--We are so made, that from the common gratifications of our appetites, and the impressions of a thousand objects, we snatch the one, like a transient gleam, without being suffered to taste the other."
"She look'd amiable!--Why could I not live and end my days thus? Just disposer of our joys and sorrows, cried I, why could not a man sit down in the lap of content here--and dance, and sing, and say his prayers, and go to heaven with this nut brown maid?"
"There is something ridiculous and even quite indecent in an individual claiming to be happy. Still more a people or a nation making such a claim. The pursuit of happiness ... is without any question the most fatuous which could possibly be undertaken. This lamentable phrase "the pursuit of happiness" is responsible for a good part of the ills and miseries of the modern world."
"Happiness is a matter of one's most ordinary everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self. To bedamned is for one's ordinary everyday mode of consciousness to be unremitting agonising preoccupation with self."
"I also believe that few people remain completely untouched by the thought that instead of the life they lead there might also be another, where all actions proceed from a very personal state of excitement. Where actions have meanings, not just causes. And where a person, to use a trivial word, is happy, and not just nervously tormenting himself."
"And what do I care if she marries another? every other night I dream of her dresses and things on an endless clothesline of bliss,in a ceaseless wind of possession, and her husband shall never learn what I do to the silks and fleece of the dancing witch. This is love's supreme accomplishment. I am happy--yes, happy! What more can I do to prove it, how to proclaim that I am happy? Oh, to shout it so that all of you believe me at last, you cruel, smug people."
"Suppose someone has frequently flown in his dreams and finally becomes conscious of a power and an art of flying just as soon as he starts dreaming, as though it were his privilege, and also his most personal and enviable happiness: one who believes he can realize every sort of curve and angle with the lightest impulse, who knows the feeling of a certain divine frivolity, an "upwards" without tension or duress, a "downwards" without condescension and humiliation--without gravity! How could a man who enjoyed such dream-experiences and dream-habits fail to discover in the end that the word "happiness" was differently colored and defined in his waking hours as well? How could he fail to--desire happiness differently?"