George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard
Shaw
1856
1950

Irish Playwright, Critic, Social Reformer and Political Activist

Author Quotes

There is nothing so bad or so good that you will not find Englishmen doing it; but you will never find an Englishman in the wrong. He does everything on principle. He fights you on patriotic principles; he robs you on business principles; he enslaves you on imperial principles; he bullies you on manly principles; he supports his king on loyal principles and cuts off his king's head on republican principles.

The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.

The novelties of one generation are only the resuscitated fashions of the generation before last.

The power that produced Man when the monkey was not up to the mark, can produce a higher creature than Man if Man does not come up to the mark. What it means is that if Man is to be saved, Man must save himself. There seems no compelling reason why he should be saved. He is by no means an ideal creature. At his present best many of his ways are so unpleasant that they are unmentionable in polite society, and so painful that he is compelled to pretend that pain is often a good. Nature holds no brief for the human experiment: it must stand or fall by its results. If Man will not serve, Nature will try another experiment.

THE SERPENT: You see things; and you say, Why? But I dream things that never were; and I say, Why not?

The unconscious self is the real genius. Your breathing goes wrong the moment your conscious self meddles with it.

There are no secrets except the secrets that keep themselves.

There is nothing that can be changed more completely than human nature when the job is taken in hand early enough.

The love of economy is the root of all virtue.

The one point on which all women are in furious secret rebellion against the existing law is the saddling of the right to a child with the obligation to become the servant of a man.

The primitive idea of justice is partly legalized revenge and partly expiation by sacrifice. It works out from both sides in the notion that two blacks make a white, and that when a wrong has been done, it should be paid for by an equivalent suffering. It seems to the Philistine majority a matter of course that this compensating suffering should be inflicted on the wrongdoer for the sake of its deterrent effect on other would-be wrongdoers; but a moment's reflection will shew that this utilitarian application corrupts the whole transaction. For example, the shedding of blood cannot be balanced by the shedding of guilty blood. Sacrificing a criminal to propitiate God for the murder of one of his righteous servants is like sacrificing a mangy sheep or an ox with the rinderpest: it calls down divine wrath instead of appeasing it. In doing it we offer God as a sacrifice the gratification of our own revenge and the protection of our own lives without cost to ourselves; and cost to ourselves is the essence of sacrifice and expiation.

The sex relation is not a personal relation. It can be irresistibly desired and rapturously consummated between persons who could not endure one another for a day in any other relation.

The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language.

There are only two classes in good society in England: the equestrian classes and the neurotic classes.

There is only one belief that can rob death of its sting and the grave of its victory. For without that you cannot be born again.

The man who has graduated from the flogging block at Eton to the bench from which he sentences the garrotter to be flogged is the same social product as the garrotter who has been kicked by his father and cuffed by his mother until he has grown strong enough to throttle and rob the rich citizen whose money he desires.

The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.

The problem with communication... is the illusion it has been accomplished.

The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been achieved.

The universal regard for money is the one hopeful fact in our civilization. Money is the most important thing in the world. It represents health, strength, honor, generosity and beauty. Not the least of its virtues is that it destroys base people as certainly as it fortifies and dignifies noble people.

There are only two qualities in the world: efficiency and inefficiency, and only two sorts of people: the efficient and the inefficient.

There is only one person an English girl hates more than she hates her elder sister; and that is her mother.

The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and about all time.

The only secrets are the secrets that keep themselves.

The public want actresses, because they think all actresses bad. They don't want music or poetry because they know that both are good. So actors and actresses thrive and poets and composers starve.

Author Picture
First Name
George Bernard
Last Name
Shaw
Birth Date
1856
Death Date
1950
Bio

Irish Playwright, Critic, Social Reformer and Political Activist