Henry Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams

Henry
Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams
1838
1918

American Journalist, Historian, Academic and Novelist

Author Quotes

Whatever happens at all happens as it should; thou wilt find this true, if thou shouldst watch closely.

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

William Seward would inspire a cow with statesmanship if she understood our language.

These questions of taste, of feeling, of inheritance, need no settlement. Everyone carries his own inch-rule of taste, and amuses himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels.

Women have, commonly, a very positive moral sense; that which they will, is right; that which they reject, is wrong; and their will, in most cases, ends by settling the moral.

They know enough who know how to learn.

Words were with them forms of expression which varied with individuals, but falsehood was more or less necessary to all

This education startled even a man who had dabbled in fifty educations all over the world; for, if he were obliged to insist on a Universe, he seemed driven to the Church. Modern science guaranteed no unity. The student seemed to feel himself, like all his predecessors, caught, trapped, meshed in this eternal drag-net of religion. In practice the student escapes this dilemma in two ways: the first is that of ignoring it, as one escapes most dilemmas; the second is that the Church rejects pantheism as worse than atheism, and will have nothing to do with the pantheist at any price. In wandering through the forests of ignorance, one necessarily fell upon the famous old bear that scared children at play; but, even had the animal shown more logic than its victim, one had learned from Socrates to distrust, above all other traps, the trap of logic -- the mirror of the mind. Yet the search for a unit of force led into catacombs of thought where hundreds of thousands of educations had found their end. Generation after generation of painful and honest-minded scholars had been content to stay in these labyrinths forever, pursuing ignorance in silence, in company with the most famous teachers of all time. Not one of them had ever found a logical highroad of escape.

You can't use tact with a Congressman! A Congressman is a hog! You must take a stick and hit him on the snout!

Artists... disappeared long ago as social forces. So did the church.

Everyone carries his own inch rule of taste, and amuse himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

In order to fly, all one must do is simply miss the ground.

Man has mounted science, and is now run away with. I firmly believe that before many centuries more, science will be the master of men. The engines he will have invented will be beyond his strength to control. Someday science may have the existence of mankind in its power, and the human race commit suicide, by blowing up the world. Not only shall we be able to cruise in space, but I'll be hanged if I see any reason why some future generation shouldn't walk off like a beetle with the world on its back, or give it another rotary motion so that every zone should receive in turn its due portion of heat and light.

Silence alone is respectable and respected. I believe God to be silence.

As educator, Jean Jacques was, in one respect, easily first; he erected a monument of warning against the Ego. Since his time, and largely thanks to him, the Ego has steadily tended to efface itself, and, for purposes of model, to become a manikin on which the toilet of education is to be draped in order to show the fit or misfit of the clothes. The object of study is the garment, not the figure. The tailor adapts the manikin as well as the clothes to his patron's wants. The tailor's object, in this volume, is to fit young men, in universities or elsewhere, to be men of the world, equipped for any emergency; and the garment offered to them is meant to show the faults of the patchwork fitted on their fathers.

Everyone must bear his own universe, and most persons are moderately interested in learning how their neighbors have managed to carry theirs.

I am an anarchist in politics and an impressionist in art as well as a symbolist in literature. Not that I understand what these terms mean, but I take them to be all merely synonyms of pessimist.

In Paris and London he had seen nothing to make a return to life worthwhile; in Washington he saw plenty of reasons for staying dead.

Man is an imperceptible atom always trying to become one with God.

Since his time, and largely thanks to him, the Ego has steadily tended to efface itself, and, for purposes of model, to become a manikin on which the toilet of education is to be draped in order to show the fit or misfit of the clothes. The object of study is the garment, not the figure. The tailor adapts the manikin as well as the clothes to his patron's wants. The tailor's object, in this volume, is to fit young men, in universities or elsewhere, to be men of the world, equipped for any emergency ; and the garment offered to them is meant to show the faults of the patchwork fitted on their fathers.

As for America, it is the ideal fruit of all your youthful hopes and reforms. Everybody is fairly decent, respectable, domestic, bourgeois, middle-class, and tiresome. There is absolutely nothing to revile except that it's a bore.

Evolution of mind was altogether another matter and belonged to another science, but whether one traced descent from the shark or the wolf was immaterial even in morals. This matter had been discussed for ages without scientific result. La Fontaine and other fabulists maintained that the wolf, even in morals, stood higher than man; and in view of the late civil war, Adams had doubts of his own on the facts of moral evolution:

I disagree with by brother Charles and Theodore Roosevelt. I think that Lee should have been hanged. It was all the worse that he was a good man and a fine character and acted conscientiously. These facts have nothing to do with the case and should not have been allowed to interfere with just penalties. It's always the good men who do the most harm in the world.

In plain words, Chaos was the law of nature Order was the dream of man.

Author Picture
First Name
Henry
Last Name
Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams
Birth Date
1838
Death Date
1918
Bio

American Journalist, Historian, Academic and Novelist