Henry James, Sr.

Henry
James, Sr.
1811
1882

American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James

Author Quotes

To change one's life: 1. Start immediately, 2. Do it flamboyantly, 3. No exceptions.

The most any one can do is to confess as candidly as he can the grounds for the faith that is in him, and leave his example to work on others as it may.

To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal.

The stream of thought flows on; but most of its segments fall into the bottomless abyss of oblivion. Of some, no memory survives the instant of their passage. Of others, it is confined to a few moments, hours or days. Others, again, leave vestiges which are indestructible, and by means of which they may be recalled as long as life endures.

Truth in our ideas means their power to work.

The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour.

We are all ready to be savage in some cause. The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause.

The true is the name of whatever proves itself to be good in the way of belief, and good, too, for definite assignable reasons.

We are proud of a human nature that could be so passionately extreme, but we shrink from advising others to follow the example.

The union of the mathematician with the poet, fervor with measure, passion with correctness, this surely is the ideal.

We can act as if there were a God; feel as if we were free; consider Nature as if she were full of special designs; lay plans as if we were to be immortal; and we find then that these words do make a genuine difference in our moral life.

The war against war is going to be no holiday excursion or camping party.

We don't laugh because we're happy - we're happy because we laugh.

The world is all the richer for having a devil in it, so long as we keep our foot upon his neck.

We have to live today by what truth we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood.

There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man's lack of faith in his true Self.

We never fully grasp the import of any true statement until we have a clear notion of what the opposite untrue statement would be.

There is but one unconditional commandment, which is that we should seek incessantly, with fear and trembling, so to vote and to act as to bring about the very largest total universe of good which we can see.

What every genuine philosopher (every genuine man, in fact) craves most is praise although the philosophers generally call it recognition!

There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.

What interest, zest, or excitement can there be in achieving the right way, unless we are enabled to feel that the wrong way is also a possible and a natural way, nay, more, a menacing and an imminent way? And what sense can there be in condemning ourselves for taking the wrong way, unless we need have done nothing of the sort, unless the right way was open to us as well? I cannot understand the willingness to act, no matter how we feel, without the belief that acts are really good and bad.

There is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it.

What the whole community comes to believe in grasps the individual as in a vise. The war-function has grasped us so far; but the constructive interests may someday seem no less imperative, and impose on the individual a hardly lighter burden.

There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers.

When a thing is new, people say: 'It is not true.' Later, when its truth becomes obvious, they say: 'It is not important.' Finally, when its importance cannot be denied, they say: 'Anyway, it is not new.'

Author Picture
First Name
Henry
Last Name
James, Sr.
Birth Date
1811
Death Date
1882
Bio

American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James