Henry James, Sr.

Henry
James, Sr.
1811
1882

American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James

Author Quotes

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.

Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our mental and physical resources.

I don't sing because I'm happy; I'm happy because I sing.

In the dim background of mind we know what we ought to be doing but somehow we cannot start.

Need and struggle are what excite and inspire us; our hour of triumph is what brings the void. Not the Jews of the captivity, but those of the days of Solomon's glory are those from whom the pessimistic utterances in our Bible come.

The best way to define a man's character would be to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which, when it came upon him, he felt himself most deeply and intensely active and alive. At such moments there is a voice inside which speaks and says: 'This is the real me!'

Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state.

I myself believe that the evidence for God lies primarily in inner personal experiences.

It is a fact that in each of us, when awake (and often when asleep), some kind of consciousness is always going on. There is a stream, a succession of states, or waves, or fields (or of whatever you please to call them), of knowledge, of feeling, of desire, of deliberation, etc., that constantly pass and re-pass, and that constitute our inner life. The existence of this stream is the primal fact, the nature and origin of it form the essential problem, of our science.

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.

The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.

Each of us is in fact what he is almost exclusively by virtue of his imitativeness. We become conscious of what we ourselves are by imitating others.

I originally studied medicine in order to be a physiologist, but I drifted into psychology and philosophy from a sort of fatality. I never had any philosophic instruction, the first lecture on psychology I ever heard being the first I ever gave.

It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all.

Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul, none is more gladdening or fruitful than to know You can regenerate and make yourself what you will.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

Earnestness means willingness to live with energy, though energy brings pain.

I will act as if what I do makes a difference.

It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.

One hearty laugh together will bring enemies into a closer communion of heart than hours spent on both sides in inward wrestling with the mental demon of uncharitable feeling.

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